TOKYO - Striker Shinji Okazaki fired a hat-trick to propel Japan to a 6-0 home win over Hong Kong in an Asian Cup final-round qualifier on Thursday.
Yuto Nagatomo, Yuji Nakazawa and Tulio were also on target for Japan in the Group A game in Shizuoka, putting the "Blue Samurai" level on points with Bahrain on six points, although the Gulf side have a game in hand.
Yemen have three points with Hong Kong bottom still without a point. The top two advance to the 2011 finals in Qatar.
Japan failed to gain automatic qualification after losing to South Korea in a penalty shootout in the third-place playoff of the 2007 tournament.