2018 World Cup Qualifying - AFC, Round Three
  • Shinji Kagawa (8')
  • Shinji Okazaki (19')
  • Yuya Kubo (57')
  • Maya Yoshida (83')

Japan rout Thailand 4-0 to go top of Group B in AFC World Cup qualifiers

Japan cruised to a 4-0 win over Thailand in Saitama on Tuesday night for their third straight Group B victory in 2018 AFC World Cup qualifying.

Shinji Kagawa opened the scoring in the eighth minute before Shinji Okazaki added a 11 minutes later. Yuya Kubo made it three on 57 minutes before a Maya Yoshida header in the 83rd minute completed the rout.

Thailand had a chance to pull a goal back from the penalty spot four minutes from full-time, but striker Teerasil Dangda missed the spot kick.

The victory put Japan on 16 points, three ahead of second-placed Saudi Arabia who host Iraq later on Tuesday, while Australia's 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates keeps them in third on 13 points.

Kiatisuk Senamuang made a number of changes to the War Elephants' lineup, with Muangthong United striker Adisak Kraisorn, Wattana Playnum, Peerapat Notchaiya and Koravit Namwiset coming into the side.

The Thai coach's bold move to play centre-back Tanaboon Kesarat as a defensive midfielder failed to stop the Japanese attack, and Vahid Halilhodzic's charges were in control from the start.

Thailand had a strong period before half-time, but Adisak Kraisorn's shot from close range was blocked after a goalmouth scramble.

In their next qualifiers on June 13, the Thais will next play United Arab Emirates in Bangkok while Japan will travel to Tehran to face Iraq.