Japan's Manabu Saito (L) and Maya Yoshida celebrate a goal during their men's Group D football match against Morocco at the London 2012 Olympic Games at St James' Park in Newcastle, northern England July 29, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Nigel Roddis)
Japan secured a spot in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Morocco.
After defeating the Spanish in a 1-0 upset, Japan came out flatfooted against a Moroccan group that wanted to add to a 2-2 draw against Honduras. For most of the first half, Morocco looked like the stronger squad. Japan drew some opportunities late in the half, but they also came to nothing.
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To start the second half, Morocco again looked to control possession and create more chances. Japan reverted to a defensive shell rather than the aggressive attack they displayed against Spain. In the 84th minute the Samurais found the net when Hiroshi Kiyotake found a breaking Kensuke Nagai who lofted the shot into the back of the net.
The win gives Japan six points and qualifies them for the second round. A tie or victory over Honduras wins them a group while a loss gives them second place in the group. Morocco must now defeat Spain by two or more goals and pray for a Honduras loss of two or more goals.