Socceroos supporters at a Japan match in Kaiserslautern
The first match between the two teams was played at the 1956 Olympics, ending in a 2–0 win for the Australians. Another dozen matches were played between Australia and Japan until a semi-final match at the 2001 Confederations Cup which ended in a 1–0 for Japan, but the match-up really only emerged as a rivalry after 2006, when Australia joined the AFC. The first match between the two sides after this was during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a group stage game where Australia were still technically competing as Oceania representatives. With just six minutes left, Japan led by a single goal, only for Australia to score thrice in succession to secure their first ever win in a World Cup Finals match in what is regarded as one of the greatest moments in Australian sporting history. A number of fierce qualifying matches over the next few years enhanced the rivalry, and Japan got revenge for their World Cup defeat by knocking the Socceroos out of the 2007 Asian Cup at the quarter-final stage via penalty shootout. In 2011, Japan again beat the Socceroos in an Asian Cup, this time in the 2011 final with a solitary goal in extra time sealing the championship. The two teams were widely predicted to meet in the final of the 2015 Asian Cup, held in Australia, after being placed on opposite sides of the draw. When Australia finished second to South Korea in Group A and Japan, as expected, won Group D, they were to meet in the semi-final. Japan were, however, knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-final stage by the United Arab Emirates in a penalty shoot-out. Australia has made the final.