Japan trounces Jordan 6-0 in WCup qualifier
SAITAMA, Japan (AP)
Midfielder Keisuke Honda scored a hat trick as Japan trounced 10-man Jordan 6-0 on Friday in the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Ryoichi Maeda headed in a Honda corner kick in the 19th minute to give Japan an early lead and Honda doubled the advantage just three minutes later when he took a through pass from Yasuhito Endo and beat Jordan goalkeeper Amer Sabah Mahmoud Shafia.
''I really have to give a lot of credit to my teammates,'' said Honda, who plays for CSKA Moscow. ''They made great passes all night. We were just focused on getting a win and this will give us confidence for the next game.''
Jordan's Abdallah Deeb Salim was sent off in the 27th minute after an elbow to the head of Japan captain Makoto Hasebe resulted in a second yellow card.
Honda made it 3-0 in the 31st, taking a pass from Shinji Okazaki and firing an angled left-footed shot past Shafia.
Manchester United-bound Shinji Kagawa completed the first-half onslaught when he took a pass from Atsuto Uchida and rifled a blast from the top of the area on 34 minutes.
Honda completed his hat trick from the penalty spot after Maeda was taken down in the box by a Jordanian defender early in the second half and a header from substitute Yuzo Kurihara late in the second half closed out the scoring.
Japan, which beat Oman 3-0 in its opening match of the final round of qualifiers on Sunday, leads the Group B standings with six points. Alberto Zaccheroni's side next faces Australia on Tuesday in Brisbane.
''Away games are always tougher,'' Kagawa said. ''Australia is a good team and we'll have to be at our best to beat them.''
The top two teams in both of the five-team qualifying groups will secure an automatic spot at Brazil. The third place teams advance to a playoff.
Jordan, which opened with a 1-1 draw against Iraq, rarely tested Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.