Football: Japan to face Syria, North Korea in World Cup 2nd-round q’fiers


Japan will play Syria, North Korea and either Myanmar or Macau in the second round Group B of the 2026 World Cup Asian qualifiers as a result of Thursday’s draw in Kuala Lumpur.

Seeking their eighth straight finals appearance, the Samurai Blue and their three rivals will all play home and away games. The top two teams from each of the nine four-team groups will reach Asia’s final qualifying round.

Nine Asian teams will qualify for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Canada and Mexico following the World Cup’s expansion from 32 teams to 48.

Japan, 20th in the FIFA rankings, will play eith...

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