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Japan

Same old story for beaten Japan

Japan
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 By John Duerden

Man United, Dortmund and Japan all responsible in the decline of Kagawa

Penalty heartbreak for Japan after the United Arab Emirates' Ismail Ahmed sealed one of the biggest shocks in the tournament's history.

As he sank to his knees on the Sydney turf following his missed penalty for Japan against the United Arab Emirates in the quarterfinal of the 2015 Asian Cup, Shinji Kagawa's face wore a look of confusion and anguish. Japan had dominated but had been eliminated.

For the player, it goes a little deeper than that. The Samurai Blue had won the tournament four years ago but Kagawa left at the semifinal stage thanks to a broken metatarsal. This time, he played until the bitter end but exited even earlier.

Yet...

UAE's Asian Cup quarterfinal upset of Japan one for the ages

Penalty heartbreak for Japan after the United Arab Emirates' Ismail Ahmed sealed one of the biggest shocks in the tournament's history.

You never want to see the defending champions exit a tournament quietly, and for Japan, the side that has won four of the last six Asian Cups, this was a departure fitting their stature.

Were it not for the incredible Iran/Iraq quarterfinal that finished just seconds before this game, this remarkable clash in Sydney would have easily ranked as the tournament's most dramatic match.

How Japan, almost unbackable favourites, contrived to not win this encounter is the stuff of legend.

How Japan contrived to not win their Asian Cup quarterfinal against the UAE in Canberra is the stuff of legend.

Mustering just...

UAE keep Japan superstars quiet in historic Asian Cup quarterfinal upset

Striker Ali Mabkhout gave UAE a surprise lead against champions Japan in the seventh minute of the Asian Cup quarterfinal.

It was a day of upsets as four-time champions Japan followed three-time winners Iran out of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, both losing their quarterfinals on penalties.

After Iraq eliminated Iran in Canberra, United Arab Emirates knocked out Javier Aguirre's Samurai Blue 5-4 in Sydney with the game locked at 1-1 after regular and extra time.

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Here are three points from the game at Stadium Australia:

1. UAE cap off stunning day

When Iraq took the lead twice in extra time against Asia's highest ranked team...

Classy Japan defeat Jordan

Japan beat Jordan 2-0 to finish top of Group D in the Asian Cup.

Japan have stamped their authority on the Asian Cup and have emerged as the firm tournament favourite after a dominant 2-0 triumph against Jordan in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

Here are three points from the match:

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1. Classy Japan peaking at the right time

Japan's superstar status preceded them, with a sell-out crowd and huge media contingent descending on Melbourne's busy sports precinct, as Australian Open tennis also drew a crowd across the road.

The Samurai Blue started strongly and grew in...

 By Kelvin Leong

Japan look good to continue reign as kings of Asia after Iraq win

AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda strikes home the winning penalty in Japan's 1-0 win over Iraq.

Japan put on a disciplined performance to record their second win in Group D with a comfortable 1-0 victory over an insipid Iraq at the Brisbane Stadium on Friday night.

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Here are three points:

1. Japan's title defence right on track

Let us forget head coach Javier Aguirre's issues off the pitch, which had made headlines before the tournament; Let us disregard Shinji Kagawa's seemingly nonchalant effort on it. Instead, let us focus on the fact that the reigning Asian champions have a squad good...

 By John Duerden

Two spots in the AFC Asian Cup quarterfinal still up for grabs

South Korea coach Uli Stielike was relieved to see his players find form against Australia.

At the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, in terms of places filled in the knockout stage, it is six down and two to go. ESPN FC's Asia correspondent John Duerden runs the rule over the issues that will be soon be settled.

Group A

It's pretty simple. South Korea finished top after edging Australia 1-0 in Brisbane on Saturday night. The Socceroos will face China at the same stadium in their quarterfinal on Thursday while Uzbekistan or Saudi Arabia loom as the Koreans' last eight opponents.

Oman's 1-0 victory over...