Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Australia, Japan qualify for 2008 Olympic Games


Australia and Japan secured draws yesterday that qualified them for next year's Olympic Games men's soccer tournament.

Australia drew 1-1 away to North Korea while Japan ground out a scoreless home draw against Saudi Arabia.

A contentious 70th minute goal by Australia's Mark Milligan canceled out Pak Chol-min's 10th minute opener.

The win put Australia on 12 points in Group A of the Asian qualifiers, meaning even a win for Iraq (8 points) over Lebanon later yesterday would not be enough for them to top the group.

Reports said Milligan's headed goal appeared to hit the hand of teammate Adrian Leijer before it crossed the line.

Japan needed only to avoid defeat against Saudi Arabia to be certain of qualifying and finished Group C with 11 points.

The winner of Group B was to be decided later yesterday. South Korea hosted Bahrain needing only a draw to qualify, but a Bahrain win would put the Middle East nation through.

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