Alberto Zaccheroni's side booked their ticket to Brazil next year, the first team to do so, thanks to a stoppage-time penalty from Keisuke Honda in an exciting 1-1 stalemate against the Socceroos in Saitama.

Although they scored late, Japan at least deserved a draw, as they put in another excellent performance that highlighted their speed, dynamism and technical ability.

Japan should have scored at least once in the first 20 minutes, as initially Maya Yoshida failed to convert a free header before Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer produced a stunning save to deny Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa.

Brilliant interplay just outside the area saw Kagawa through on goal but he scuffed his shot and Schwarzer produced a superb one-handed save.

Australia also wasted a one-on-one chance before half-time, as Robbie Kruse was denied by Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Kagawa and Honda were dangerous throughout the match and the former hit the crossbar with a chip with Schwarzer beaten after half-time.

Tim Cahill had an effort blocked at the other end before Australia took the lead with just eight minutes to play thanks to 21-year-old Tommy Oar.

Oar, who plays his club football at FC Utrecht, saw a cross from the left float into the right-hand corner of the net, embarrassing Kawashima and delighting the small number of travelling fans.

Holger Osieck's men almost hung on for the full three points, but Matt McKay handled a Honda cross in the penalty area in the dying stages.

The penalty was given, and Honda – the leading scorer in the Asian group of World Cup qualifying – buried the spot-kick with aplomb, as his fifth goal of the campaign secured Japan's place in the tournament proper.

Japan, who have 14 points from seven matches, are likely to top Group B with the third-placed Australia needing at least four points from home fixtures against Jordan and Iraq to confirm their qualification.

The other match in Group B saw Oman defeat Iraq 1-0 thanks to Ismail Al Ajmi's goal in first-half stoppage time.

Oman are now second in the group with nine points, with the bottom-placed Iraq highly unlikely to reach Brazil after their latest defeat.

Uzbekistan were not playing in Group A, giving South Korea the chance to go top with a point against Lebanon.

And although they left it incredibly late, they did just that, as Chi-Woo Kim's 97th-minute goal saw them claim a 1-1 draw.

Lebanon – who finished the game with 10 men after defender Walid Ismail was given two yellow cards – took the lead after just 12 minutes through Hassan Maatouk.

South Korea and Uzbekistan are now level on 11 points at the top of Group A, with the third-placed Iran only one point behind after a 1-0 win in Qatar.

Reza Ghoochannejhad bagged the game's only goal after 66 minutes.

The top two sides of both groups will automatically qualify for the World Cup, with the third-placed sides from Group A and B facing each other in a play-off fixture.

The winner of that match – which will be the fifth-placed side in Asia – will then play the team that finished fifth in South American qualifying over two legs, with the winner to qualify for the World Cup finals.