Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki celebrated his 50th international goal yesterday as Japan brushed aside Thailand 4-0 to edge closer to a sixth successive World Cup. Photo: AFP Read more at http://www.thephuketnews.com/okazaki-fires-his-50th-goal-for-japan-in-4-0-thai-rout-61588.php#YVtptfvmlq2XK8MH.99

Japan 4 Thailand 0

Japan took a giant step closer to World Cup qualification at the expense of Thailand, who crashed out of the competition. Four goals from Kagawa (8), Okazaki (19), Kubo (57) and Yoshida (83) ensured that Thailand would not be heading to Russian 2018.

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Leicester City’s striker Shinji Okazak, netted his 50th goal for his country in 108 matches, with a diving header.

Japan and Saudi Arabia are now joint top of Group B with 16 points apiece, following Saudi Arabia’s one goal to nil victory over neighbours Iran.

 

Behind them is the current Asian champions Australia, who are three points adrift in third place with three games still to play. Only the top two qualify for Russia automatically, with third spot earning a play-off place.

Thailand however cannot qualify and must surely look to the future.

Head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang was full of praise for Japan following the match and said “we have no complaints” following the defeat.

Despite the heavy loss, his record as Thailand’s manager is impressive, winning 21 matches from his 40 in charge so far. The War Elephants have drawn 7 and lost 12 games since he took over the reigns in 2014.

Thailand now have three further matches in Group B. Two home games against United Arab Emirates and Iraq before travelling to Australia for their final outing.

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