FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: Japan demolish Mongolia 14-0; Saudi Arabia beat Palestine
The eight group winners and four best second-place teams from FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers will advance to the next stage, which is scheduled to start in September.
Tokyo: Japan stayed perfect in World Cup qualifying by routing Mongolia 14-0 on Tuesday, their fifth win of the second stage coming 16 months after the fourth.
The Japanese scored five goals in the first half, added nine more in the second and now lead Group F with 15 points. A victory over Myanmar on June 3 will secure first place in the group and a spot in the third round of Asian qualifying.
The eight group winners and four best second-place teams will advance to the next stage, which is scheduled to start in September.
Takumi Minamino, Yuya Osako, Daichi Kamada and Hidemasa Morita all scored in the first half, along with an own-goal from Mongolia defender Khash-Erdene Tuyaa.
Osako ended up with a hat trick, while Sho Inagaki, Junya Ito and Kyogo Furuhashi scored two goals each. Takuma Asano also scored.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said a big winning margin against Mongolia wasn’t the priority.
“Rather than focusing on their opponents, our players concentrated on what they wanted to achieve for themselves,” Moriysasu said in comments reported by the Kyodo news agency. “I was able to try some different formations and expand our options.”
The Japanese warmed up with a 3-0 win last week in a friendly against South Korea, organized after their scheduled match against Myanmar was postponed.
Tuesday's game had been scheduled to take place in Mongolia but was changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Asian Football Confederation decided earlier this month to play all remaining Group F matches in Japan. Mongolia was coming off a 3-0 loss to Tajikistan in Dushabe last Thursday, one of the first games in Asian qualifying since November 2019.
Later Tuesday, Saudi Arabia beat Palestine 5-0 in the only other qualifying match from the Asian region and moved to the top of Group D above Uzbekistan.
Yasser Al-Shahrani and Fahad Al-Muwallad scored late in the first half to give the hosts the lead in Riyadh. Two goals from Saleh Al-Shehri early in the second and a late penalty from Salem Al-Dawsari completed the rout.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed the reports but said discussions were still ongoing, and that organisers would strive to "come up with a feasible way of securing that many nurse resources."
The current population includes six Americans, two Russians, two Japanese and one French.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Less than one percent of Japanese population vaccinated with Games under 100 days away
The slow pace makes it likely that Japan's population, including thousands of Olympic volunteers and support staff, will not be vaccinated by the time athletes begin pouring into the country.