World Cup Wonders #1: Junichi Inamato and Keisuke Honda

With just over a month to go until the World Cup gets underway in Brazil, here at SFG we will be looking back at some of our favourite African & Asian goals from past World Cup tournaments. Some of these will be wonderful efforts that have you jumping off your seat, while others will simply be incredibly iconic moments that will send tingles down the spine as you visit them with us once again (or possibly for your first time).

First in this series is a double header, since it was too difficult to pick between them. The central theme though is the Japanese national team in two of their World Cup outings.

Junichi Inamoto Vs Belgium (2002 World Cup in Japan & South Korea)

The first tournament on Asian soil provided some memorable moments for the co-hosts. While those of us in Europe were bleary eyed as we watched the games kicking off at ridiculously early hours, Inamoto made sure we were well awake when he scored this beauty to put Japan ahead against Belgium in their opening game, the incredible home support erupted in delight as the then Arsenal man ghosted past the defence and slotted home beautifully :

 

Keisuke Honda Vs Denmark (2010 World Cup in South Africa)

The first tournament on African soil was to be Japan’s “nearly there” tournament to date, they went out cruelly on penalties to Paraguay in the second round after winning over many neutrals with their football, so close to a quarter final berth but so far. However in the group stages we were treated to this delicious free kick from Honda, who set Japan on their way to a comfortable victory over Denmark in their final group game to secure passage to the second round. Rarely is a ball so sweetly struck from such an angle & distance from goal, it crackled it’s way into the back of the net:

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