- qualify for ～
- ～の（出場）資格を得る（後出 qualifying は予選、写真説明の qualification はここでは予選通過）
- ～ consecutive
- 確実にする（後出 secure も同意）
- volley a cross
- a perfectly timed run
- (be) thrilled to contribute to ～
- confidence in ～
- prioritize ～ over ...
- second half
- bring on ～
- to no avail
- go on a run
- release a thunderbolt
- go blank
- go in
- sink in
Ready for Russia
Japan has qualified for its sixth consecutive FIFA World Cup by beating Australia 2‐0 at Saitama Stadium, on Aug. 31. Asano Takuma and Ideguchi Yosuke scored Japan's goals, to help ensure that Japan will appear at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Asano's goal came in the 41st minute, when he managed to volley a cross from Nagatomo Yuto, following a perfectly timed run toward the goal.
"I was thrilled to contribute to the team in such a big game and want to thank the manager for showing confidence in me," the on‐loan Stuttgart striker said.
Japan manager Vahid Halilhodzic decided to prioritize youth over experience in his team selection, in what proved to be an effective gamble. Japan's two goalscorers, Asano and Ideguchi, are 22 and 21 years old, respectively.
In the second half, Australia brought on veteran Tim Cahill, who famously scored against Japan in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but to no avail. Ideguchi went on a run and released a thunderbolt in the 82nd minute, which flew past the outstretched arms of Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan. Reflecting on his goal, Ideguchi said, "I am happy, but my mind went blank when the ball went in. It didn't really sink in."
After the game, a jubilant Halilhodzic thanked the crowd in both French and Japanese, expressing his gratitude to the crowd. "I'm proud of the players tonight," he said.
Before the game, some people were surprised that the manager had decided to leave out some of Japan's more experienced players such as Honda Keisuke, Okazaki Shinji, and Kagawa Shinji from the starting eleven. The manager's strategy was clear: to steal the ball from Australia by hard pressing, and to release fast players toward the opposition goal on the counter attack. With the manager's meticulous approach and preparation, Japan beat Australia for the first time in World Cup qualifying, to secure the top spot in Group B.
(Compiled from AP and Mainichi reports)