INTRODUCTION: The Japanese football team are in Israel for two matches in the Asian qualifying zone of the World Cup.
INTRODUCTION: The Japanese football team are in Israel for two matches in the Asian qualifying zone of the World Cup. They played their first match in Tel Aviv on Sunday (6 March). It was not a good start for Japan, though, with the strong Israeli team winning 2-0.
SYNOPSIS: Israel -- in the dark strip, on the attack -- missed several good chances at the beginning of the match at the Ramat Gan stadium. They led the attacking for most of the first half but could never quite finish off when they reached the Japanese goal.
There was frustration for the home crowd with near misses like this.
And again when this shot went just over the bar.
But the crowd's frustration seemed to be matched by the Israeli players. The French referee was kept busy with a number of fouls. He had to show the yellow card to two Israeli players. International referees are expected to be tough with offenders during the World Cup, following an increase in violence on the pitch.
Israel also had to contend with some fine saves from the Japanese goal-keeper, Mitsuhisa Taguchi.
But Israel's strong attacking paid off just before half time. Spiegler passed to Oded Machines who beat two defenders and shot home.
Israel returned to the attack in the second half but it was Taguchi who stopped them once again. However, Israel made sure of their win when Chaim Bar headed in a chip from Spiegler. The two teams will play their second round match in Tel Avis on the 10th of March.