Japan may have won a record fourth Asian Cup -- its fourth success in six tournaments -- but there was a sense throughout the competition that the Japanese were living on the edge. In every game apart from the 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia, they flirted with defeat. Against Australia in the final, Japan was for a longtime the poorer side, but it demonstrated the same resilience as it had in finding a late equalizer against Jordan, a late winner against Syria and two late goals against Qatar and then overcoming the concession of a late equalizer to beat South Korea in a shootout in the semifinal. This time, thanks to some good fortune and a brilliant display form its goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, Japan didn't concede and found a way back into the game a smart tactical switch from coach Alberto Zaccheroni.
The bizarre scene was enough to make dog-walkers stop and stare, as a gaggle of mustached men, dressed in 19th century waistcoats and ankle-length shorts, faced each other on a pitch at London's Battersea Park.
Harry Kewell continued his battle to feature in Australia's opening World Cup game against Japan next week when he played almost an hour of his team's 3-1 friendly win against Liechtenstein here on Wednesday.