Japan rout Myanmar 10-0 to advance to third round

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With a photo of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese residents in Japan and supporters protest the military takeover, outside Fukuda Denshi Arena where the Asian qualifying soccer match between Myanmar and Myanmar takes place. Japan for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar in Chiba, east of Tokyo on Friday, May 28, 2021. The poster reads “Myanmar football team does not represent the country” (Kyodo News via AP)

AP

Yuya Osako scored five goals as Japan beat Myanmar 10-0 to become the first Asian team to secure a place in the World Cup third qualifying round on Friday.

China, which plays Guam on Sunday, still has a lot of work to do.

Takumi Minamino’s brace for Japan, and one goal each from Hidemasa Morita, Daichi Kamada and Ko Itakura, gave a weakened Myanmar their heaviest loss. Myanmar, which lacked several stars who refused to perform in protest against the February military coup, had not played an international match for 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The result was undoubtedly quickly. Osako scored three goals in the first half hour and two more in the second half at Fukuda Denshi Arena, which was closed to fans due to restrictions in place due to the coronavirus.

“We showed this aggressive attitude, going for another goal even after the result was beyond doubt, and also not slacking off to keep a clean sheet,” head coach Hajime Moriyasu said, according to the agency. Kyodo press release. focused on playing at a high level.

Japan have the best record of any team in the Asian second qualifying round, scoring 37 goals and conceding none in their six Group F wins. They advance to the next stage, scheduled for September, with two games to lose .

In contrast, China have collected just seven points in Group A after four games and sit in second place, eight points behind the Syrian leader despite having one game in hand. As only the group winners and four of the eight finalists progress to the third round, China may have to win their last four games with the Maldives, the Philippines and Syria to come after Guam.

With the investment made in the Chinese Super League on imports and renowned foreign coaches in recent years, the president of the Chinese Football Association, Chen Xuyuan, knows that the team must show signs of success.

“We often say that we have to let people see that Chinese football is progressing,” Chen told Xinhua, the country’s official news agency, earlier this month. “But if we are eliminated at this point, others will think we need to go wrong instead of improving.”

China moved quickly to secure accommodation rights after the Asian Football Confederation’s decision earlier this year that, due to travel restrictions, all remaining matches of each group in the second qualifying round would have place in one centralized location.

Around 30,000 fans are expected in Suzhou, 110 kilometers west of Shanghai, on Sunday to cheer on the team against Guam, though China’s toughest test is likely against Syria on June 15.

Coach Li Tie played at the 2002 World Cup, China’s only appearance so far, and the former Everton midfielder called on five foreign-born players to boost his chances of participate in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Brazilian attacking trio Elkeson, Alan and Fernandinho were naturalized after spending five years playing in the Chinese Super League. They are joined by Nico Yennaris and Tyias Browning, born in England but of Chinese descent.

With star player Wu Lei, back from his Spanish club Espanyol, all players have been in training camp in Suzhou since the Chinese Super League stoppage on May 17 to allow as much preparation as possible.


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