Japan beats China in World Cup Asian qualifier

In soccer, Japan's national men's team has defeated China one to nil in the second match of Asia's final qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup.

In the match in Qatar on Tuesday, Japan replaced four starting lineup members from its losing contest against Oman last week.

This time, starters included Kubo Takefusa, who was active at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and Tomiyasu Takehiro of English football club Arsenal.

Japan, ranked 24th in the world, struggled to break 71st-ranked China's heavily manned defense in front of the goal. But forward Osako Yuya scored with a right kick on a cross by Ito Junya from the right in the 40th minute in the first half.

After the game, Japan's captain Yoshida Maya said it was not easy to break a team with such a tight guard, and that Osako's goal was a relief. He said Japan cannot afford to lose even one more match, and is determined to win all the rest.

Tuesday's match was held in the neutral venue of Doha because China is limiting travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan now has one win, one loss and three points in the standings.

Japan will play Saudi Arabia in an away match on October 7, and Australia at home on October 12.