Japan ends Iraq's World Cup hopes; Iran wins

Shinji Okazaki celebrates scoring the only goal in Japan's win over Iraq on Tuesday.
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Japan ended Iraq's chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup by scoring late to win 1-0 in a match played in the neutral terriory of Qatar.

Iraq enjoyed plenty of possession and created several chances in the opening half at Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha, but Japan made it pay with an 89th-minute goal from Shinji Okazaki on a counterattack.

Japan, which has already qualified, moved to 17 points from eight games. Iraq has five points, with its final match at Australia next Tuesday. The second and final automatic qualifying spot is between Australia, Oman and Jordan.

Iraq had Alaa Abdul-Zahra sent off in the 82nd after received two yellow cards in quick succession, the second for kicking an opponent in the face while attempting an overhead kick.

Iran 4, Lebanon 0

TEHRAN, Iran (AP -- Iran scored twice in each half Tuesday to beat Lebanon at Azadi Stadium and move into second place in its Asian World Cup qualifying group.

Bidding to reach the World Cup for a fourth time, Iran is one point behind South Korea in Group A and two ahead of Uzbekistan.

Iran took the lead in the 39th minute when Mohammed-Reza Kalatbari evaded three defenders before beating goalkeeper Abbas Hassan with a low shot. Javad Nekounam then headed home Khosro Heydari's cross on the stroke of halftime.

It was 3-0 only 45 seconds after the break, with Reza Ghoochannejhad slamming his shot into the top left corner. Nekounam wrapped up the scoring with a curling shot in the 87th minute.

Iran's final match is at South Korea on Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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