KYOGO FURUHASHI and his Japanese team-mates will be heading to the World Cup Finals in Qatar in the winter.

The Celtic striker, who hasn’t kicked a ball this year as he battles to overcome a hamstring problem, plus Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi could all be involved in their nation’s plans for the soccer extravaganza that kicks off on November 21 with the grand finale due on December 18.

Substitute Kaoru Mitoma claimed two late goals as Japan overcame Australia 2-0 in the Olympic Stadium in Sydney today to send his country through to their seventh successive appearance in global football’s elite international competition.

QATAR-BOUND…Yosuke Ideguchi, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate could all be involved in the winter World Cup Finals along with Japan team-mate Kyogo Furuhashi.

Hoops midfielder Hatate was an unused substitute while Maeda remained at home for “fitness reasons”. Aussie Tom Rogic, of course, also failed to make the journey after being crocked in Ange Postecoglou’s side’s 4-0 win over Ross County at Parkhead at the weekend.

The damage inflicted by red-carded Kayne Ramsay on the playmaker’s ankle could also see him sidelined for the match at Ibrox when the Premiership resumes a week on Sunday.

Mitoma’s goals gave the Japanese their first victory over the Socceroos in Australia since 1998 and also secured Saudi Arabia’s passage to Qatar. Rogic and his colleagues have now been condemned to a tricky path through two play-offs if they are also to make the finals for the fifth time in a row.

The sub thumped the first behind former Celtic target Mat Ryan in the 89th minute and followed up with a second in stoppage time.

The Aussies were missing almost an entire team of regulars because of Covid infections and injury.


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