Japan outclass Denmark


Japan gave notice of their potential on Thursday when they beat Denmark 3-1 in their final Group E fixture and clinched a place in the last 16 of the World Cup on foreign soil for the first time.

"Our team has a strength that some others don't have. All 23 of the players and all of the staff, we are one team together really," said Japanese coach Takeshi Okada.

Photographs: Reuters

Image: Japan players celebrate after winning their match against Denmark 

On a cold night at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Japan were in control from the start and stretched the Danish defence with ease.

Their intricate, almost meticulous, one-touch play and the speed of their movement created a series of chances before they took the lead after 17 minutes with a superb goal by Honda.

Taking a free-kick 30 metres out on the right, the blue-gloved striker with bleached hair struck a left-foot shot that faded to the left and away from the flat-footed Danish keeper Thomas Sorensen, who looked helpless.