Congratulations are in order.
Japan’s national soccer team beat North Korea 2-0 in an eerily silent Bangkok stadium last night to gain a berth at next year’s World Cup in Germany. The game, officially a home game for the Koreans, was held at a neutral venue and without spectators following violence on the pitch and riots off it after they lost to Iran in their previous game. Japan’s goals were scored by Yanagisawa Atsushi, who plays with Italian side Messina, and J-League top scorer Oguro Masashi. Though the Supachalasai Stadium was empty, many Japanese fans could be heard chanting outside, while 20,000 gathered at the National Stadium in Tokyo for a live braodcast. The success means that manager Zico looks to have held on to his job for the time being despite broad criticism of his qualifying campaign tactics. TV Asahi expects the viewer ratings for its live broadcast of the game to better its own record of 47.2%, reached when the home game against North Korea was shown on February 9.