Japan has broken the record for Australian footballers in the World Cup qualifiers. After 11 consecutive wins, the Brazilian national team lost 2-1 in Saitama. Australia remain in the lead with nine points from four matches, but could be overtaken by Saudi Arabia (nine points from three matches) and saw Japan close to three.
National coach Graham Arnold’s team celebrated their 11th consecutive World Cup qualifier victory last week, overtaking Mexico, Spain and Germany. Those countries recorded ten consecutive qualifying victories en route to the 2006, 2010 and 2018 World Cups respectively. For Spain and Germany, the qualifiers also consisted of ten matches.
Australia’s record streak began in September 2019. After more than two years, that streak ended in Japan. Ao Tanaka put the hosts ahead in the eighth minute. Agden Hrocic returned the result with a free kick 20 minutes from the end. In the final stage, Aziz Behich (85.) scored an own goal that Matthew Ryan (former Club Brugge and KRC Genk) had no chance.
In Australia, KV Kortrijk defender Trent Sainsbury stood between the lines. Junya Ito (KRC Genk) completed the Japan match. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Wataru Endo, both pasts at STVV, have played football.