It was a setback for Jackson Irvine and Australia: with the unfortunate 2-1 win in Japan, the flawless record in World Cup qualifiers faded. The 28-year-old can still hope.
His brown-and-white teammates were just having a small field game at Kollaustrasse when the game kicked off at Big Saitama for Irvine and Co on Tuesday. Two hours later, the “Australians” were disappointed. They equalized Japan’s lead through Ao Tanaka (8) with a free kick from Agden Hrostik (69) – and then lost because Aziz Bahish (86) hit his own goal shortly before the end.
World Cup Qualifiers: Australia lose 2-1 in Japan
With nine points from four matches, Australia is still in good shape, but now faces a challenge in the first match against Saudi Arabia on November 11. There is a victory – and Irvine will come close to his goal of qualifying for the World Cup. He will be the fourth Saint Paulian to meet the best player in the world.
Third brown and white does not have very good memories of the big tournament. Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own goal in extra time for the 0-1 defeat in the Moroccan shirt against Iran in 2018. “We hardened ourselves,” coach Herve Renard was horrified. Bouhaddouz moved to Saudi Arabia after the World Cup.
Kocian, Knovlick and Bohduz were St. Pauli players in the World Cup
Jan Kocian and Ivo Knovlicic, who sang in Italy in 1990, stayed longer with St. Pauli (and were also remembered by fans). With Kocian playing the Libero and Knovlczyk in storm, Czechoslovakia reached the quarter-finals, with world champions Germany winning 1-0 on the penalty kick from Lothar Matthaus. “I had my best time at St. Pauli, but the quarter-final match against Germany was the match of my life,” the now 63-year-old recalls.
Kojian, Knovlychk, Bohduz … And then? In addition to Irvine, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh also has a good chance of getting a ticket to Qatar. Ghana won with a goal from Thomas (31) 1-0 in Zimbabwe, and Kerry came an hour later. The return leg against South Africa in mid-November is expected to decide whether Ghana will advance to the playoffs.
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In the European qualifiers, James Lawrence (he was off the bench in Wales 1-0 in Estonia) and Nikola Vasili as substitute goalkeeper for Bosnia are still hoping for a place in the finals.
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