Australia, Japan and Korea Republic are the first three teams to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup as Asian qualifying continued on Saturday (overnight Friday for those of us in the states). Japan used a 1-0 win against Uzbekistan, with the lone goal scored by Shinji Okazaki, to seal their place in South Africa.
It marks the second straight cycle that Japan has been the first country to qualify, as the Blue Samurai were also the first team through to the 2006 tournament in Germany. Japan will be attending their fourth World Cup in a row.
Soon after, Australia booked their place in South Africa. The Socceroos needed only a draw against Qatar and became the second team (after Japan) to qualify out of Asia's Group A. Australia qualified for their second consecutive World Cup, but their first since switching confederations in 2006. Last time around, Australia qualified for Germany by virtue of a playoff victory that pitted the OFC champions against Uruguay from CONEMBOL. This time, they're one of the first teams to qualify for the finals out of the AFC.
Not far behind was the Korea Republic, who qualified for their seventh consecutive World Cup finals with an easy victory against UAE. South Korea are top of Group Two with 14 points and can't be caught. Their group mates and neighbors Korea DPR missed an early chance to qualify for the finals today.