Asia FIFA World Cup

Japan Thrash Myanmar in Yangon

Japan secured a commanding 5-0 victory over Myanmar in Yangon on Thursday, sealing their status as Group B winners of their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Hajime Moriyasu’s side took control with first-half goals from Keito Nakamura and Ritsu Doan in the 17th and 34th minutes. A double from Koki Ogawa in the final 15 minutes and Nakamura’s injury-time strike sealed the win, moving Japan to 15 points – all but clean-sweeping their group.

With advancement to the next phase already guaranteed, Moriyasu made extensive changes from the squad that narrowly defeated North Korea 1-0 back in March, retaining only four players from that lineup.

Among the seven new faces, Reo Hatate had an early effort deflected wide, shortly after Daichi Kamada sent a shot over the bar, as the visitors started brightly at Thuwunna Stadium.

In the 15th minute, Kamada missed a close attempt, but soon set up the opener with a precise pass from his own half that found Nakamura. The Reims winger exploited the unguarded right side of Myanmar’s defense and slotted a right-footed shot into the bottom corner past Kyaw Zin Phyo.

Doan doubled Japan’s lead 17 minutes later, capitalizing on a rebound after Kamada’s low shot struck the bottom of the post, reacting swiftly to score.

Goalkeeper Kyaw was kept busy towards the end of the first half, denying Nakamura’s downward header and seeing Doan’s injury-time header disallowed for offside.

In control, Moriyasu introduced several substitutes early in the second half. Daizen Maeda, one of the substitutes, forced a save from Kyaw in the 70th minute with a strike aimed at the bottom corner.

Five minutes later, Japan scored their third goal. Ogawa met Yuki Soma’s cross drifting from the right edge of the penalty area, finishing unmarked.

Ogawa added his second goal seven minutes from time, turning and scoring from 12 yards after a defensive error by Myanmar. Nakamura then completed the rout in injury time, curling a shot from the edge of the area into the net to secure the emphatic win.