Boro Star Books His Place In World Cup!

Last updated : 07 June 2009 By Boro Mad
After representing Wales at under-21 level - for whom his qualified through one of his parents - Williams was faced with a dilemma whether to stick with the Welsh or switch his allegiance to his homeland at senior level.

A visit from Aussie boss Pim Verbeek persuaded the Perth-born defender that he had a future with Australia.

Rhys, who enjoyed a successful three-month loan spell with promoted Burnley this season, is joined in the Aussie squad by fellow Boro Academy graduate Brad Jones.

Next up for Australia are two home games against Bahrain on June 10 and Japan on June 17.

With Japan having earlier booked their passage with victory in Uzbekistan, Pim Verbeek's side sewed up the second automatic spot in Group A and can count themselves unfortunate not to have taken all three points.

Australia came closest to breaking the deadlock 10 minutes after the interval when Tim Cahill headed a corner goalwards and Chris Coyne neatly flicked the ball past goalkeeper Qasem Burhan only for Mesaad Al Hamad to clear off the line.

An early goal by Shinji Okazaki saw Japan edge Uzbekistan 1-0 in Tashkent to win their place in South Africa.

Okazaki headed home his own rebound in the ninth minute after being initially denied by Ignatiy Nesterov to secure a top-two finish in the Group A qualifiers for the Japanese and a fourth consecutive finals appearance.

Makoto Hasebe was sent off for elbowing Uzbek captain Server Djeparov with two minutes remaining but the home side were unable to find a way past the Japanese defence, who kept their fourth consecutive clean sheet of the qualifiers.