World champions Japan beat Asian champions Australia 1-0 on Monday to inch closer to qualifying for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament London 2012.
In other qualifying matches, hosts China beat Thailand 2-0, while DPR Korea edged Korea Republic 3-2 in a thriller.
After three matches, Japan now have nine points, followed by DPR Korea, who are two points behind, and China, who have five points. Australia (three), Korea Republic (one) and Thailand, who are yet to open their account, round off the six-team table. Only the top two teams qualify for the London Games.
The Matildas held Japan to a scoreless first half at the Shandong Sports Centre after a series of brilliant saves by goalkeeper Lydia Williams. But a succession of strong build-up play saw Japan’s Nahomi Kawasumi score the match-determining goal in the 62nd minute.
With three matches played and one win and two losses recorded, the Matildas now face an uphill battle to book a spot at the London Olympics.
by The Punjapit Alliance