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Sweden impress, host Japan shocked, 8 for Algeria

Sweden impress, host Japan shocked, 8 for Algeria

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Asian World Cup qualifying began with two big surprises, the biggest being Japan’s home loss to… Oman!

European qualifying also rolled onward with Sweden cementing its strong reputation with a win over Spain, while England had to deal with boos and racism in Hungary, and Italy matched an international record.

[ MORE: El Salvador – USMNT preview ]

Algeria got four goals from Islam Slimani in an absolute romp over Djibouti, as African qualifying continues ahead of South American and CONCACAF action on Thursday.

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Here’s what we’ve seen so far Thursday across World Cup qualifying for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

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African World Cup qualifying — CAF

Dijbouti was only down 1-0 to Algeria when Mohamed Youssouf Batio was sent off in the 23rd minute.

Islam Slimani’s fifth-minute goal was joined by three more goals, as the ex-Leicester City man led an eight-goal barrage that also featured markers by Riyad Mahrez, Baghdad Bounedjah, Ramy Bensebaini, and Ramiz Zerrouki.

Thursday’s results

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Kenya 0-0 Uganda
DR Congo 1-1 Tanzania
Niger 0-2 Burkina Faso
Namibia 1-1 Congo
Madagascar 0-1 Benin
Algeria 8-0 Djibouti
Morocco 2-0 Sudan

Asian World Cup qualifying — AFC

Surprises were on the docket in Asia, where two high-profile hosts dropped points when Japan lost and South Korea drew.

The top and fourth-ranked Asian teams in FIFA’s table (Japan is 24th and South Korea 36) couldn’t lock down all the points against No. 79 Oman and No. 70 Iraq, respectively.

Heung-min Son and South Korea played Iraq to a scoreless stalemate, but the real eyebrow-raiser was delivered in the first match of the day. An 88th-minute goal from Issam Al Sabhi gave Oman a result it very much deserved against a stunned Maya Yoshida and Japan at the Panasonic Stadium Suita.

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Thursday’s results

Japan 0-1 Oman
South Korea 0-0 Iraq
Iran 1-0 Syria
UAE 0-0 Lebanon
Australia 3-0 China
Saudi Arabia 3-1 Vietnam

European World Cup qualifying — UEFA

England’s players were booed upon taking the knee against racism, pelted with cups during goal celebrations, and allegedly dealt with racist chanting — players and boss Gareth Southgate said they were disappointed but unaware during the game — in a 4-0 win in Hungary.

Italy made history in a 1-1 home draw with Bulgaria, joining Spain and Brazil with the longest consecutive unbeaten runs in the history of international football with 35. To break it, they’ll face a very difficult trip to Switzerland on Sunday.

But how about a nod to FIFA No. 75 Bulgaria for drawing the EURO champs in Italy? The Fighting Berbatovs got a Kiril Despodov-produced Atanas Iliev goal 23 minutes after Federico Chiesa put Italy ahead in Florence.

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And it’s probably worth reinforcing that Sweden’s success is not an accident or an anomaly. Dejan Kulusevski and Co. beat Spain 2-1 on goals from Alexander Isak and Victor Claesson to take a 2-point lead on Spain with a match-in-hand.

Germany struck twice for new boss Hansi Flick including this goal from Timo Werner in a 2-0 win at Liechtenstein. Armenia is still atop the group by a point but heads to Stuttgart to try and defend its place on Sunday.

Thursday’s results

Georgia 0-1 Kosovo
Liechtenstein 0-2 Germany
Czech Republic 1-0 Belarus
Andorra 2-0 San Marino
Poland 4-1 Albania
Italy 1-1 Bulgaria
Lithuania 1-4 Northern Ireland
North Macedonia 0-0 Armenia
Estonia 2-5 Belgium
Sweden 2-1 Spain
Iceland 0-2 Romania
Hungary 0-4 England

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World Cup qualifying: Sweden impress, host Japan shocked, 8 for Algeria originally appeared on NBCSports.com



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