A late goal from substitute Mana Iwabuchi put holders Japan into the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Australia.
Iwabuchi, 22, finally got the breakthrough after 87 minutes in a tense quarter-final Japan dominated in Edmonton, to put the champions through to the last four along with former two-time winners Germany and the United States.
The Asian champions next play either hosts Canada or England in Wednesday's semi-final in Edmonton, with Germany and the United States also playing for a place in the final on Tuesday in Ottawa.
The Japanese looked dangerous early but had little to show for their efforts during an uninspiring first half between the Asian rivals at the Commonwealth Stadium.
Forward Shinobu Ohno threatened for the 'Nadeshiko' but missed from close range after 22 minutes.
Matildas goalie Lydia Williams proved solid as she pushed Japan captain Aya Miyama's shot on goal over the bar on 33 minutes.
Just before the break Australia had a chance to break the deadlock only for Kyah Simon's long range effort to go straight into the hands of Ayumi Kahori in goal.
Australia allowed their best chance go abegging when a Mizuho Sakaguchi error on 54 minutes let Sam Kerr through but her tame effort went straight at Kahori.
Japan continued to look dangerous but Miyama and Yuki Ogmi both missed in front of goal.
Coach Norio Sasaki brought on Iwabuchi for Ohno after 72 minutes and she finally got the breakthrough firing in from close range after Azusa Iwashimizu's shot had been blocked.
It was a fifth win in as many games in Canada for the fourth-ranked Japanese, who beat Australia 1-0 in the Asian Cup final last year.
The Matildas, at 10th, the lowest ranked team left in the tournament, go home after getting past the knockout rounds for the first time in their history by beating Brazil 1-0 in the last 16.