Italy rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Japan 4-3 Wednesday, earning a spot in the Confederations Cup semifinals.
First-half substitute Sebastian Giovinco scored the winner in the 86th minute of an entertaining match at the Arena Pernambuco, pounding home a cross from Claudio Marchisio.
After a dismal start for the Azzurri that saw Japan score twice in the opening 33 minutes, Daniele De Rossi pulled one back with a header in the 41st. Japan defender Atsuto Uchida scored an own-goal in the 50th and Mario Balotelli converted a penalty kick in the 52nd.
Japan had taken the lead with a penalty kick by Keisuke Honda in the 21st. Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa doubled the lead for Japan in the 33rd after a defensive error.
Shinji Okazaki made it 3-3 in the 69th with a header.
The Azzurri moved even with Brazil at six points atop Group A. Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 earlier Sunday and also advanced courtesy of Italy's win.
In the final round of group matches, Italy will face host Brazil in Salvador on Saturday, and Japan meets Mexico in Belo Horizonte.
Hawkish former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, the supreme adviser to Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations), on Tuesday officially put an end to his nearly 50-year political career after losing his Diet seat in Sunday's Lower House election. (Japan Times)
The Meteorological Agency forecast heavy snow and strong winds nationwide from Tuesday to Wednesday and warned of avalanches, stormy conditions and high waves, as well as disruptions to transport systems. (Japan Times)
Heavy snow caused a power outage along parts of the Joetsu Shinkansen Line for about six hours on Sunday morning, leaving some 300 passengers trapped in a bullet train for 2½ hours near the mountainous southern border of Niigata Prefecture. (Japan Times)
When "Rachel Halle" traveled to Japan for an exchange year, she expected a lot of things from her visit; Japan is a culturally rich, diverse nation with a great deal to offer to exchange students seeking to learn about Japanese history and culture. (care2.com)
This village deep in the rugged mountains of southern Japan once was home to hundreds of families. Now, only 35 people remain, outnumbered three-to-one by scarecrows that Tsukimi Ayano crafted to help fill the days and replace neighbours who died or moved away. (leaderpost.com)
To spare staff and diners from the "severe emotional trauma" of being surrounded by lovey dovey couples flaunting their love in the faces of lonely singletons, a restaurant in Japan has banned all couples on Christmas Eve - "with no exceptions!"