Japan national coach Takeshi Okada said Saturday he was happy with his team’s 2010 World Cup qualifying win away to Uzbekistan as well as with a performance which secured qualification.
“We expected a tough battle today and the match was really tough,” Okada said following an efficient 1-0 success.
“But we played according to our plan and managed to clinch a very important win.”
“I’m very pleased with my players’ performance in the match. They played with heart but it was a very well-disciplined performance.”
Okada added that he was not planning any major changes in his team’s remaining qualifying matches with tickets for South Africa assured.
“We were playing very well today. I think we should continue playing this style in the remaining matches.”
Japan clinched their finals berth with Shunji Okazaki’s solitary strike after just nine minutes.
The result lifted Japan top of their group with 14 points from six matches.
Okada’s Uzbeki counterpart Mirjalol Kasymov congratulated Japan.
“Our team made the decisive mistake early in the match allowing Japan to score a goal,” Kasymov said. “That goal changed the situation completely.”
“But we did all we could do today. We have nothing to reproach ourselves about.”
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