Before the game I tweeted:
“I’m going to tonight’s Samurai Blue world cup qualifier against Australia. I’m an unworthy fan. The blond guy is Honda. That’s all I know.”
…and that’s all I would need to know as Keisuke Honda scored on a penalty kick in injury time, knotting the game at 1-1, and clinching Japan’s berth in the 2014 football (soccer) World Cup.
It was an incredible ending to an important World Cup qualifying match for both Japan and Australia. Australia went ahead 1-0 on a great individual effort by Tommy Oar in the 82nd minute when he dribbled through three defenders and then unintentionally sent a cross into the upper right-hand corner of the far net.
In the 90th minute Japan drew a clear handball in the Australia box, setting up a penalty kick in injury time, which Keisuke Honda drilled into the back of the net to tie the game and send Japan to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. An absolutely electric ending to my first time watching the Samurai Blue. For the rest of my life, I will remember this as “the Honda penalty kick”, a phrase that will perpetually confuse my future children, as we will most likely own a Honda (for unrelated reasons).
- Saitama Stadium 埼玉スタジアム / 埼玉スタジアム2002 (map)
- 〒336-0972 さいたま市緑区中野田500
- 500 Nakanoda, Midori Ward, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 336-0972, Japan
- The stadium is a little more than an hour north of central Tokyo.
- Closest station is Urawamisono Station 浦和美園.
- Home to the Urawa Reds professional soccer/football team