Japan stumbles in bid to qualify for World Cup
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Japan stumbled in its bid to qualify for the World Cup by being held to a 1-1 draw by Iraq on Tuesday.
Yuya Osaka scored a header early in the match in Tehran, where Iraq plays its home games for security reasons. But Mahdi Kamel equalized in the second half for Iraq, which has already been eliminated from qualifying.
Japan leads Group B by one point ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia with two games remaining. Only the top two from the two six-team groups automatically qualify for the World Cup in Russia. The third-place finishers advance to the playoffs.
Japan will host Australia in August and then play in Saudi Arabia in September.
Also, Ali Mabkhout scored an injury-time goal to give the United Arab Emirates a 1-1 draw at Thailand.
Thailand, which is in last place in Group B, got its goal from Mongkol Kraisorn.