Scotland, Venezuela and Canada were the three winners on a day of classification matches at the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships at St George’s Park in Burton upon Trent.
With the quarter-finals winners enjoying a rest day today before the two semi-final clashes tomorrow, it was left to the teams who were battling for positions nine to 15 to battle it out.
After scoring their first goals of the tournament in a 6-2 loss to Portugal in their last match on Tuesday (June 23), Japan were hopeful of securing a first win of the tournament against Venezuela, narrowly beaten by Canada in their opening classification match.
It was the South Americans who moved ahead in the second minute with a superb individual strike from Jessi Junior Yari Villegas, before they doubled their advantage minutes later through Richard Alexander Mogollon Melendez.
Japan pulled one back on the stroke of half-time through Shotaro Osawa to give themselves a chance before a far tighter second half.
Yet, despite plenty of sustained pressure, the Venezuelans held their composure for an excellent victory.
It was much more comfortable for Scotland as they ran out 6-0 winners over Australia.
Two goals from Barry Halloran and a further two from Kyle Hannin saw them sweep the Australians aside, while Ian Paton also grabbed a goal to ensure 11 goals in two matches for the Scottish and two clean sheets.
Canada were on top from the start against Portugal in the final game, with goalkeeper Rui Rocha keeping them level with a string of fine saves.
Just when it seemed as if the Canadians were going to rue missed opportunities, the deadlock was broken by Trevor Stiles, who hit a thunderous drive into the top right hand corner of the Portuguese net for what proved to be the winning goal.
Japan now finish the tournament in 15th, while Venezuela will take on Northern Ireland for 13th.
Australia and Portugal will battle for 11th and Scotland will be up against Canada in pursuit of a ninth place finish.
In the semi-finals, meanwhile, Brazil will face Ukraine tomorrow before The Netherlands go up against gold medal favourites Russia.
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