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Japan advances to Pool E thanks to Aussies

MLB.com

Japan was watching Australia's 11-0 World Baseball Classic win over China very closely Thursday. The win clinched the host country a spot in the tournament's second round.

The two-time World Baseball Classic champions still need to finish pool play by playing China on Friday, but the game will have no effect on the tournament standings. China was eliminated following its loss to Australia.

Japan was watching Australia's 11-0 World Baseball Classic win over China very closely Thursday. The win clinched the host country a spot in the tournament's second round.

The two-time World Baseball Classic champions still need to finish pool play by playing China on Friday, but the game will have no effect on the tournament standings. China was eliminated following its loss to Australia.

Japan will finish pool play with two wins regardless of the outcome against China after defeating Cuba in the opener and Australia on Wednesday.

Japan will be joined in the second round, which will run from Sunday to March 16 in Tokyo, by the Netherlands and Israel, who already qualified from Pool A.

Either Australia or Cuba will join them to complete the bracket. Both teams sport 1-1 records heading into a win-or-go-home game Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. Cuba is a heavy favorite against Australia, whose win Thursday was just the country's second in World Baseball Classic history. This is Australia's fourth World Baseball Classic.

China will need to qualify for the next World Baseball Classic after coming in fourth in Pool B.

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

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