Saudi Arabia beats Japan and qualifies for World Cup

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 2006 with a 1-0 victory over Japan in a decisive Asian qualifying match on Tuesday at the King Abdulah Sports City Stadium on the outskirts of Jeddah.

Needing to win to qualify outright after Australia beat Thailand 2-1 earlier in Melbourne, the Green Falcons did just that before an announced full house crowd of 62,165 at the cavernous stadium.

Striker Fahad Al-Muwallad collected a pass from the right and booted in a goal to the top corner in the 63rd minute that had the home crowd erupting in jubilation.

Saudi Arabia finished the World Cup qualifiers with 19 points to advance outright to Russia 2018 as the second team from Group B with already-qualified Japan on 20 points from 10 matches.

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