Betfred Sport

Stalemate at Coventry ensures qualification for both Japan and Honduras

Japan 0-0 Honduras 

Japan and Honduras played out a dour 0-0 draw in Coventry, which sees both sides progress into the knockout stages of the Olympic men's football tournament from Group D. 

The match, played in glorious sunshine, lacked any real quality and clear goalscoring chances were rare but it ended with joy for both nations.

The point means Japan top the group with seven points, whilst the Central Americans have progressed to a knockout phase of an international tournament for the first time. 

Chances were at a real premium in the first 45 minutes but it was Honduras who created the best openings.

Shuichi Gonda did very well to save from Jerry Bengtson after the forward did superbly to chest a high ball and shake off his marker.

Wigan Athletic's Maynor Figueroa also tested Gonda before half-time, with his driven free-kick needed the FC Tokyo no.1 to react, courtesy of a big deflection.   

Poor quality

The quality of the game was very poor, with a lack of forward activity in the second half too.

Luis Garrido had a hugely ambitious strike from distance, which seemed to offer more danger to the watching spectactors than Gonda in the Japanese goal. 

In the last ten minutes Honduras goalkeeper Jose Mendoza was nearly left red-faced when he was caught off his line by a free-kick from the Blue Samarai.  

Ultimately, he did enough to palm Takashi Usami's free-kick over the crossbar. 

It wasn't a brilliant game but the right result for both countries, which share the distinction of both beating Spain at the Olympics.

Honduras will now face the massive task of taking on the runaway favourites Brazil in Newcastle on Saturday.  

As group winners, Japan now progress to a last eight match with Egypt at Old Trafford, which begins the quarter-final matches. 

By Alberto Lliteras - Follow me on Twitter @albertolliteras

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