Japan handed 3-0 win after N. Korea call off qualifier

In Sports
March 31, 2024



JAPAN:

Japan have been awarded a 3-0 victory after North Korea called off a World Cup qualifier between the sides that was scheduled to be held in Pyongyang earlier this month, Japan’s Football Association (JFA) said on Saturday.

The JFA said FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee had informed them that the match had been forfeited, which means Japan are guaranteed a top-two finish in their group which also includes Syria and Myanmar. With 12 points after four games, Japan have qualified for the third round of World Cup qualifiers as well as the 2027 Asian Cup. Japan beaten North Korea 1-0 in another qualifying match in Tokyo this month.

“Although the players lost an important opportunity to play, I see this as a positive step forward,” Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said in a statement. “Naturally, we will not be satisfied with this result, but will continue to build up our strength for the national team activities in June, the final qualifying round, and the World Cup.”

North Korea, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Tokyo, decided not to stage the match in Pyongyang over worries about infectious diseases in Japan and had asked for the game to be moved to a neutral venue. FIFA said the game would not be rescheduled due to the lack of dates on the fixture calendar.

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