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Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Japan for clinching their place in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 on Thursday. 

Japan overcame a resilient Australian side 2-0 at the Saitama Stadium 2002 to secure their sixth consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup and will now join Islamic Republic of Iran who earlier grabbed Asia’s first spot in Russia 2018 with two matches to spare.

“On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate Japan for qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. I must also applaud the Japan Football Association for demonstrating immense dedication and determination to stand proud among the world’s best teams in Russia next year.

“The AFC has clear and bold ambitions to ensure the success of Asia’s teams and players on the world’s biggest stages and I am confident that Japan, along with Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to do our Continent proud in Russia.”

The thrilling road to Russia 2018 continues on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 with Australia and Saudi Arabia both playing host to Thailand and Japan respectively as they bid to secure the final automatic spot in Group B. 

Over in Group A, Korea Republic require nothing less than three points in their titanic away encounter against Uzbekistan to ensure their safe passage into the FIFA Would Cup Russia 2018. The Central Asians meanwhile will need a victory to keep their hopes alive with Syria, who will face the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran, also in contention on the final match day.

The race to seal third place in both groups is also heating up as the remaining teams set their sights on the chance to play the fourth-placed team in the CONCACAF final qualifying group in November.

For more details on the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers – Final Round, please click here.

Photo: AFP