The Samurai Blue have beaten the Socceroos 2-0 at the Saitama Stadium and fully deserved their victory.
A goal in each half was a fair reflection of proceedings, where the Socceroos failed to put consistent pressure on the home side in what was a disappointing performance from the Aussies.
The early stages saw the Japanese dominate the contest and the well-organised Socceroo defence repel any half chances created.
As the first period rolled on the Socceroos started to gain some traction in terms of possession yet failed to find clear avenues to goal.
The late goal from Asano with less than five minutes remaining in the first half appeared to hurt the visitors and their start to the second period was less than inspiring.
The Socceroos still found consistent periods of attack during the second half yet failed to provide any consistent and realistic chances.
Ideguchi’s wonderful strike in the second half quite possibly heralded his arrival as a key player for the Japanese for a long time to come, as well as sealing the Australians fate in the qualification race.
If Japan take a B-team into the contest against Saudi Arabia, the Socceroos appear doomed. If a real contest takes place and the Japanese seek all three points, the Socceroos need to find a way past Thailand, which, despite seeming easy on paper, was far from the case last time around.
All in all, this was a disappointing performance in many ways from the Socceroos.
After pushing Chile and performing well at the Confederations Cup, the local fans were optimistic about the final two qualifiers and felt things could have been wrapped up with at least a point tonight.
However, once again the Socceroos have found a way to create stress for us all and we will have another week of waiting before we know our fate.
Whatever the outcome, Postecoglou, staff and players need to produce something much better if this team is to achieve anything in Russia 2018 – if we even get there.