Japan cruise past Myanmar in World Cup qualifying

football06 June 2024 14:10| © AFP
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Japan versus Myanmar © Getty Images

Japan cruised past Myanmar 5-0 in World Cup qualifying in Yangon on Thursday to maintain their 100 per cent record, with their place in the next round already secured.

Keito Nakamura and Ritsu Doan scored in the first half for Hajime Moriyasu's side, before Koki Ogawa grabbed a double and Nakamura added another after the break.

Japan clinched their place in the next round without kicking a ball in March when Fifa said their away game against North Korea would not be rescheduled.

North Korea were supposed to stage the game in the capital Pyongyang but, five days before the game, officials abruptly said the isolated country could not play host, without giving a reason.

Japan are looking to qualify for their eighth straight World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

The returning Daichi Kamada started in midfield after being dropped for Japan's Asian Cup campaign at the start of the year, and the Lazio man went close with a shot in the 15th minute.

Myanmar enjoyed some early possession but Japan took the lead in the 17th minute through Nakamura.

The Reims attacker ran into space on the left before cutting inside and flashing a shot past goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Phyo from inside the box.

Japan went increased their lead in the 34th minute when Kamada hit the post and Doan was quickest to stuff home the rebound.

Japan struggled to break down Myanmar after the interval but they got their third goal in the 75th minute when Ogawa headed home from close range.

Ogawa bagged his second of the game in the 83rd minute before Nakamura curled home Japan's fifth goal in injury time.