Asian World Cup qualifiers: Japan, Qatar, Australia, South Korea win big
SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan eased past Cambodia 3-0 to secure its first win in World Cup qualifying while South Korea thrashed Laos 8-0 to stay undefeated on Thursday.
Also, Asia's highest-ranked team, Iran, spoiled Guam's perfect record in Group D with a 6-0 win in Tehran, Qatar routed Bhutan 15-0 and Australia's second consecutive win moved it to the top of its group.
After being held to a surprising goalless draw by Singapore in its first Group E match in June, Japan was desperate for a convincing win.
Keisuke Honda opened the scoring with a left-footed shot in the first half, and Maya Yoshida doubled the advantage early in the second half with an angled shot into the left corner.
Shinji Kagawa put the result beyond doubt an hour in when he was left unmarked in front of the goal and calmly tapped in from close range.
Japan, bidding for its sixth straight World Cup berth, rose to four points, while Cambodia, which never seriously challenged the hosts, remained winless after three matches.
Japan will travel to Iranian capital Tehran on Friday to play Afghanistan in another second-round Asian qualifier. Cambodia's next game is in Singapore in October.
South Korea's big Group G win included a Son Min-heung hat trick.
China and Hong Kong finished in a goalless draw in Group C. Hong Kong improved to seven points, two ahead of China.
In Group B, Australia scored four times in the opening half hour before eventually winning 5-0 against Bangladesh in Perth. A brace from Tom Rogic and goals by Mathew Leckie and Nathan Burns put the hosts clear, and Aaron Mooy added the fifth in the second half.
Iraq opened its campaign in Group F with a resounding 5-1 victory over Taiwan at neutral Tehran, three goals coming in the last 10 minutes.
Iraq will meet group leader Thailand in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Guam traveled to Iran after overcoming visa troubles, was quickly trailed 4-0, with Iran's Russia-based Sardor Azmoun scoring twice.
Guam surprised Turkmenistan and India in earlier group matches, and faces Oman next at home on Tuesday, when Iran will meet India at Bangalore.
In Group H, Uzbekistan substitute Alexander Geynrikh scored a match-winner in the 51st minute with an impressive free kick to beat a resilient Yemen 1-0. Uzbekistan revived its hopes after losing 4-2 to South Korea in its first match, while Yemen suffered a third successive loss.