Australia are going to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and a couple Meiji Yasuda J.League players contributed to the successful qualifying cycle.
Mitchell Duke and Adam Taggart were part of the Socceroos team that leapt over the final hurdle, beating Peru on penalty kicks on Monday in the FIFA inter-confederation play-off, which booked their ticket to November’s finals.
Fagiano Okayama’s Duke started for the Socceroos and played 69 strong minutes before being substituted off. He nearly scored what would have been the winning goal as he presented Peru a constant threat, but was denied.
Cerezo Osaka’s Taggart was on the roster, but did not dress, though he contributed three goals in eight matches throughout the qualifying cycle.
Australia made it to the inter-confederation play-off by finishing third in their AFC World Cup qualifying group, behind Japan and Saudi Arabia. That left them to play United Arab Emirates in a play-off, which they won, 2-1. That sent them to a one-off match against Peru for a spot in Qatar, which went the Socceroos’ way.
The Meiji Yasuda J.League has a strong Australian contingent in 2022, from Duke and Taggart to Nagoya Grampus’ standout goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak and Thomas Deng of Albirex Niigata. It’s been the home to outstanding Aussies for years, too, with Socceroo World Cup players like Andrew Nabbout suiting up for Urawa Reds, Milos Degenek wearing the gloves for Yokohama F·Marinos, Joshua Kennedy pulling on the Nagoya shirt and Mark Milligan turning out for JEF United Chiba, among others.