Japan 1-1 Jordan, Doha, 09/01/2011
Scorers: Abdel-Fattah (Jordan), Yoshida (Japan)
It’s FA Cup weekend in England, and although that competition is renowned for providing shocks, this match very nearly caused the biggest upset of them all result. Jordan, who have never before player in a UFWC title match were seconds away from becoming Unofficial Football World Champions after Hasan Abdel-Fattah gave his side an unlikely lead. There was a strong element of luck about the Al-Wahdat midfielder’s deflected goal, which looped up of defender Maya Yoshida. But Yoshida became the hero in injury time, rising highest to head the ball home from a corner and equalise.
Japan have struggled for goals in recent games, and their cause wasn’t helped by a team selection that contained no specialist strikers. Instead, Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni relied on midfielders Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa to get forward. When that failed to pay dividends. Zaccheroni brought on Tadanari Lee at half-time, but by then his side were already a goal behind.
The Jordanian goal came in first half injury time, after good Jordanian work down the right. Abdel-Fattah found space just outside the box, and drilled in a shot that deflected up off Yoshida and looped over keeper Eiji Kawashima and into the net.
Both sides played some good football, and a draw was probably the deserved result, although Japan left it very, very late.
So Japan retain the UFWC title and remain Unofficial Football World Champions. The next UFWC title match will see Japan take on Syria this Thursday 13 January. We’ll be taking a closer look at that match very soon.