The second round of the second stage of the Asian qualifiers for WC 2026 was marked by a series of stunning victories, including those of Japan, Australia and South Korea, who are all considered favorites to win. However, it wasn’t such a good day for Croatian coach Igor Štimac’s India, who lost at home to Katra (0-3).
In Group C in Shenzhen, China, South Korea dominated the match against China with Tottenham striker Son Heung-min scoring twice and assisting a third. In the first half he gave the Koreans the lead in the 11th minute from the penalty spot after Hwang Hee-chan was fouled in the penalty area. He added his second goal in the last minute of stoppage time with a header and Jung Seung-hyun scored in injury time. On the other hand, Thailand beat Singapore 3-1 in this group with Suphanat Mueanta scoring twice.
In Group B in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Japan defeated Syria 5-0 as guests. Jong Il Gwan scored a hat-trick as North Korea secured their first win of the campaign by beating Myanmar 6-1 in Yangon. Meanwhile, Australia celebrated away to Palestine with a 1-0 Harry Souttar goal in the 18th minute on a neutral ground in Kuwait. Earlier that same day, Bangladesh and Lebanon played 1-1.
Mohanad Ali scored from injury time to give Iraq an important victory over hosts Vietnam (1-0) and Uzbekistan drew Iran (2-2) in Tashkent after leading Iranians with goals from Rezeian and Taremi but Urunov and Sergejev saved them from defeat. On another note, Tajikistan won convincingly over Pakistan (6 -1) and Branko Ivanković’s Oman was defeated by Turkmenistan (1 -0) near Kyrgyzstan