The second round of the second stage of the Asian qualifiers for WC 2026 was marked by the victories of the Japanese, Australian and South Korean favorites, while the former Croatian coach Igor Štimac’s India lost at home to Katra (0-3).
Tottenham striker Son Heung-min scored twice and assisted a third as South Korea beat China 3-0 in Shenzhen. Son gave the Koreans the lead in the Group C clash in the 11th minute from the penalty spot after Hwang Hee-chan was fouled in the penalty area. He added the second in the last minute of the first half with a header, and in the 87th minute Jung Seung-hyun. The Thais beat Singapore 3-1 in this group, with Suphanat Mueanta scoring twice.
In Group B in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Japanese defeated Syria 5-0 as guests, with two goals from Real Sociedad striker Takegush Kubo. In the same group, Jong Il Gwan scored a hat-trick as North Korea secured their first win of the campaign by beating Myanmar 6-1 in Yangon. Australia celebrated away to Palestine with a 1-0 Harry Souttar goal in the 18th minute a very high-quality match, played on a neutral ground in Kuwait. Earlier in this group, Bangladesh and Lebanon played 1-1.
Mohanad Ali scored in the sixth minute of injury time to give Iraq a 1-0 win over hosts Vietnam in Group F, which saw the Philippines and Indonesia draw 1-1 in Manila. Hong Kong came back twice to draw 2-2 with Turkmenistan in group E. Uzbekistan and Iran played 2-2 in this group in Tashkent. The Iranians led 2-0 with goals from Rezeian and Taremi, but Urunov and Sergejev saved the hosts from defeat. Tajikistan won 6-1 over Pakistan in Group G in Islamabad. The Tajiks are led by the Croatian coach Petar Šegrt. Branko Ivanković’s Oman was defeated in Bishkek near Kyrgyzstan with 1-0.