South Korea qualifies for World Cup in Qatar, Japan beats Saudi Arabia


South Korea qualified for a 10th consecutive World Cup after beating Syria 2-0 in Dubai on Tuesday.

Second-half goals from Kim Jin-su and Kwon Chang-hoon gave the Koreans a comfortable win over bottom side in Asia Group A qualifying.

South Korea moved 11 points clear of third-place United Arab Emirates, who only have three games left.

The top two teams from each of the two groups qualify automatically. Third place teams advance to the playoffs.

In Group B, a Takumi Minamino goal in the first half put Japan on course to beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 at Saitama Stadium and keep the hosts on track for their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance.

Minamino’s goal from close range in the 31st minute was created by Junya Ito. The Belgian winger added the second shortly after the restart with a ferocious shot from just outside the box to seal the Saudis’ first defeat in the group.

Saudi Arabia, who would have qualified for a sixth World Cup with a win, still led the group with 19 points, one more than Japan. Australia would move up to 17th place with a win over Oman later on Tuesday.

Bottom-placed Vietnam, who had previously lost all seven of their games in Group B, defeated China 3-1 in Hanoi. The loss ended China’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup for a second time.


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