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Japan Posts First-Ever World Cup Win, 1-0 Over Russia; CONCACAF Still Unbeaten


Ecuador took an early lead but could not hold on and earn any points from Group G leader Mexico as CONCACAF continued its strong run at Korea/Japan 2002 with Mexico's 2-1 victory. Despite the result, Group G will be decided on the final day of group play as scenarios exist where any of the four teams could advance or be eliminated, depending on the results in the two games to be played simultaneously on June 13.

Agustin Delgado gave Ecuador the early lead with a goal just five minutes into the match, beating goalkeeper Oscar Perez, but Mexico looked confident throughout and Ecuador played much of the match defending in its own end, eventually surrendering two goals and the full three points to the Tri-Colores.

Mexico drew even in the 28th minute as Ramon Morales found Jared Borgetti with a cross from the left side. Borgetti finished with his left foot for his first goal of the tournament.

Mexico got the eventual game-winner from Gerardo Torrado in the 57th minute with a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area.

Mexico stands atop the Group G table with six points, while Italy and Croatia are level at three points. Despite being without a point so far in this, their first, World Cup, Ecuador still stands a chance of advancing to the Round of 16 should they defeat Croatia and Mexico defeat Italy on June 13. Ecuador would also have to overcome Italy's four goal margin over them in goal difference.

Mexico, Italy and Croatia could end in a three-way tie at six points should Italy defeat Mexico and Croatia defeat and eliminate Ecuador. The group's two places in the Round of 16 would then be determined by goal difference, with Mexico currently at (+2), Italy currently at (+1) and Croatia currently even.

Scoring Summary:
ECU - Agustin Delgado, 5.
MEX - Jared Borgetti, 28.
MEX - Gerardo Torrado, 57.

ECU - 1-Jose Cevallos, 2-Augusto Poroso, 3-Ivan Hurtado (capt.), 4-Ulises de la Cruz, 5-Alfonso Obregon (10-Alex Auinaga, 58), 6-Paul Guerron, 9-Ivan Kaviedes (18-Carlos Tenorio, 53), 11-Agustin Delgado, 16-Clever Chala, 19-Edison Mendez, 20-Edwin Tenorio (15-Marlon Ayovi, 35).

MEX - 1-Oscar Perez, 4-Rafael Marquez (capt.), 5-Manuel Vidrio, 6-Gerardo Torrado, 7-Ramon Morales, 9-Jared Borgetti (15-Luis Hernandez, 77), 10-Cuauhtemoc Blanco (13-Sigifredo Mercado, 93+), 11-Braulio Luna, 16-Salvador Carmona, 18-Joahan Rodriguez (19-Gabriel Caballero, 87), 21-Jesus Arellano.

Misconduct Summary:
ECU - Ivan Kaviedes (C), 15.
ECU - Jose Cevallos (C), 27.
ECU - Raul Guerron (C), 49.
ECU - Carlos Tenorio (C), 61.
MEX - Gerardo Torrado (C), 65.


Costa Rica earned a much-needed draw from Turkey with a late equalizer, and will take a three-point and three goal lead over Turkey into the final day of Group C play on June 13, when Costa Rica faces already-advanced group leaders Brazil and Turkey faces already-eliminated World Cup debutantes China.

After taking the lead in the 56th minute as Emre Belozoglu sent home the rebound of his initial shot, Turkey was on the verge of securing the full three points late in the match, until substitute Winston Parks found the net on a pass from fellow-substitute Hernan Medford in the 86th minute. Medford, the lone player still remaining active from Costa Rica's 1990 World Cup team, received a ball on the right side of the area from a header by Paulo Wanchope. Medford slotted a ball across the face of the goal that Parks made no mistake in finishing from in front of the goal with the goalkeeper nowhere in sight.

Both teams had an opportunity to win it in the closing minutes, but Costa Rica goalkeeper Erick Lonnis saved Arif Erdem's shot before Parks was unable to finish into the empty net and shot high after dribbling around the keeper.

Costa Rica will advance with any points and could win the group with a win over Brazil, while Turkey needs the full three points from China and a Costa Rica loss to pull even at four points and try to overtake Costa Rica's three-goal margin in goal difference.

Scoring Summary:
TUR -Emre Belozoglu, 56.
CRC - Winston Parks, 86.

TUR - 1-Rustu Recber, 2-Emre Asik, 4-Fatih Akyel, 8-Tugay Kerimoglu (6-Arif Erdem, 88), 9-Hakan Sukur (capt.; 17-Ilhan Mansiz, 75), 10-YIldiray Basturk (15-Nihat Kahveci, 79), 11-Hasan Sas, 16-Umit Ozat, 18-Ergun Penbe, 21-Emre Belozoglu, 22-Umit Davala.

CRC - 1-Erick Lonnis (capt.), 3-Luis Marin, 4-Mauricio Wright, 5-Gilberto Martinez, 6-Wilmer Lopez (16-Steven Bryce, 77), 8-Mauricio Solis, 9-Paulo Wanchope, 10-Walter Centeno (17-Hernan Medford, 66), 11-Ronaldo Gomez, 15-Harold Wallace (12-Winston Parks, 77), 22-Carlos Castro.

Misconduct Summary:
TUR - Emre Asik (C), 20.
CRC - Gilberto Martinez (C), 24.
CRC - Carlos Castro (C), 43.
TUR - Tugay Kerimoglu (C), 45.
TUR - Emre Belozoglu (C), 89.


Japan posted its first-ever win in World Cup play, much to the delight of 66,108 fans in attendance at Yokohama's International Stadium, defeating Russia, 1-0, on a second-half strike from Arsenal midfielder Junichi Inamoto. 

Inamoto, a hero after scoring the second goal in Japan's eventual 2-2 draw with Belgium to open the tournament, scored his second goal of this World Cup in the 51st minute. Before and after the goal, the match was an end-to-end affair between two sides of very similar talent. On the day, though Inamoto would make the difference as he had in the draw with Belgium that earned Japan its first-ever point in the World Cup Finals.

Japan lead the group at four points, ahead of Russia at three, though Belgium and Tunisia have yet to play their second match of the Cup. Group H closes play on June 14, with Japan facing Tunisia and Russia facing Belgium.

Scoring Summary:
JPN - Junichi Inamoto, 51.

JPN - 12-Seigo Narazaki, 3-Naoki Matsuda, 5-Junichi Inamoto (15-Takashi Fukunishi, 85), 7-Hidetoshi Nakata, 11-Takayuki Suzuki (10-Masashi Nakayama, 72), 13-Atsushi Yanagisawa, 16-Koji Nakata, 17-Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (capt.), 18-Shinji Ono (6-Toshihiro Hattori, 75), 20-Tomokazu Myojin, 21-Kazuyuki Toda.

RUS - 1-Ruslan Nigmatullin, 2-Yuri Kovtun, 3-Yuri Nikiforov, 4-Alexei Smertin (11-Vladimir Beschastnykh, 57), 5-Andrei Solomatin, 6-Igor Semshov, 7-Viktor Onopko, 8-Valery Karpin, 9-Egor Titov, 19-Ruslan Pimenov (22-Dmitri Sychev, 46), 20-Marat Izmailov (21-Dmitry Khokhlov, 52).

Misconduct Summary:
RUS - Ruslan Pimenov (C), 13.
JPN - Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (C), 15.
RUS - Andrei Solomatin (C), 38.
JPN - Koji Nakata (C), 42.
RUS - Yuri Nikiforov (C), 60.
JPN - Masashi Nakayama (C), 91+.