Japan got first half, direct kick goals from Keisuke Honda and Yasuhito Endo to stake the Blue Samurai to a lead they would never relinquish. Jon Dahl Tomasson scored late for Denmark, who feel back behind by two when Shinji Okazaki scored in the 87th minute, giving Japan a 3-1 victory.
With the win, Japan finished Group E’s play on six points, earning second place behind the perfect Dutch. They will advance to the knockout stage while Denmark, on three points, is eliminated.
It is the second time Japan has qualified for the knockout stage, the first being in 2002, when the Japanese hosted the tournament. The three goals scored today marked the first time the Blue Samurai has scored that many goals in a World Cup match.
For Denmark, who had qualified for the World Cup on three prior occasions, it is the first time they have failed to make the knockout stage in a finals.
Japan now plays Group F winner Paraguay in the tournament’s Round of 16.