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FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Japan advances in World Cup qualifying with forfeit win over N.Korea

Japan has been declared the winner of its cancelled World Cup qualifying match against North Korea by forfeit, the sport’s global governing body told the Japan Football Association on Saturday.

FIFA declared Japan the 3-0 winner of the second-round Group B match that had been scheduled to be played in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

Hosts North Korea abruptly cancelled the match five days before it was due to be played, with the isolated country failing to give any reason.

FIFA announced after the cancellation that the qualifier would not be rescheduled because of a lack of space in the international football calendar.

“The FIFA disciplinary committee informed us of its decision to forfeit this match as a 0-3 defeat for North Korea,” the JFA said in a statement.

Japan beat North Korea 1-0 in Tokyo nine days ago to make it three wins from three in their Asian qualifying group.

They will now progress to the third stage of qualifying for the World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Coach Hajime Moriyasu said in the JFA statement that “important opportunities for players to compete were lost” because of the cancellation

“But I take this positively as a step forward,” said Moriyasu, who took Japan to the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup after wins over Spain and Germany.

“We will build up our strength towards… the final qualifying round and the World Cup.”

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