Portugal end Japan’s run
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Japan’s unbeaten run came to a dramatic end, as Madjer and crew sent memories of Portugal’s group-stage slip-up further into the distant past.

Portugal looked poised and in control as the match got underway, knocking passes to and fro, with the Japanese barely getting a touch on the ball. But Samurai Blue had the first real chance as a shot bounced deceptively over goalkeeper Bruno, requiring an alert team-mate to head it off the line. Bruno was tested again as Hirofumi Oda went close, as was goalkeeper Tomoya Ginoza when Madjer twice tried his luck. As both sides continued to drill the ball goalward, it was evident that the stalemate would soon be broken.

Oda nearly did so after an energetic run through the Portuguese defence, but it was Madjer instead, as he headed home from the doorstep. Bruno Novo rattled the bar for Portugal before Japan relied in-kind. The Japanese spectators got even louder when Tomoya Uehara grabbed an opportunistic equaliser. Dazzling shots were traded at both ends, until Belchoir’s direct-kick bounced into the roof of the net.

Portugal have reached the semi-finals and on Saturday at 19.30 (local time) shall face the winner of today’s quarter-final match between Brazil and Italy. Japan’s Dubai 2009 adventure has come to an end.