Asian soccer powerhouse Japan thrashed Thailand 4-0 on Tuesday to get their third successive victory in the AFC World Cup qualifiers. They are now set to top Group B with the result.


Former Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa scored the first goal in the first ten minutes before his namesake Shinji Okazaki doubled the tally in the 19th minute. After the break, Yuya Kubo made the scorers’ list with his effort in the 57th minute. Maya Yoshida made it four in the 83rd minute.

Japan have earned 16 points, three points more than Saudi Arabia who follow closely. Saudi Arabia are meeting Iraq on Tuesday. Australia are in third place after defeating United Arab Emirates 2-0.

Thai manager KiatisukSenamuangdecided to play the centre back TanaboonKesaratin defensive midfield but it did nothing to limit the onslaught of the Japanese. he made several changes to the team that started the match. KoravitNamwiset, PeerapatNotchaiya, AdisakKraisorn and WattanaPlaynumwere drafted in the War Elephant’s lineupbut the 2002 World Cup host had a potent attacking side that prevailed.

Thailand played better in the first half but after the resolve was broken it went south. They face UAE next on June 13 at home while Japan will play Iraq in Tehran.

The Thais signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Japs on the same day they played the World Cup qualifier. Football Association of Thailand (FAT) signed the partnership with the Japanese Football Association (JFA) as they look at forging an alliance for the future. The focus of the agreement was in league operation, knowledge and expertise trade (coaching and youth development), national team football development and referee development. Women football and grassroots development, referring and coach education are also prioritized.