Japan stumble against Jordan

Japan suffered a surprise 2-1 loss in Jordan in AFC World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

Japan suffered a surprise 2-1 loss in Jordan in AFC World Cup qualifying on Tuesday. The Japanese entered their clash in Amman with four wins and one draw from their five Group B matches, giving them a healthy seven-point lead at the top of the group.

But Jordan climbed from the bottom of the group and into second - above the Socceroos, Oman and Iraq - with a terrific home win.

Japan only needed a point to become the first side - along with hosts Brazil - to qualify for the 2014 showpiece but wasted a plethora of early chances.

Ryoichi Maeda headed onto the crossbar while Hiroshi Kiyotake, Makoto Hasebe and Shinji Kagawa all went close as well.

Jordan claimed the lead against the run of play though, with Khalil Bani Ateyah heading home from a corner in first-half stoppage time.

Shinji Okazaki nearly levelled for Japan after the break but Alberto Zaccheroni's side were stunned when Ahmad Ibrahim put Jordan 2-0 ahead.

Ibrahim gathered the ball just inside the Japan half and charged down the right, cutting in and shrugging off the attention of defender Maya Yoshida before producing a smart finish on 61 minutes.

It sent the home fans in Amman wild but the scenes of elation were short-lived as Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa pulled a goal back with 21 minutes remaining.

Japan had a golden opportunity to get back on level terms, only for Yasuhito Endo's penalty to be superbly saved by Jordan goalkeeper Amer Sabbah.

And although the Japanese surged forward in the dying stages looking for an equaliser, they could not find a goal as Jordan celebrated a huge home win.