Myanmar vs Japan

Asian heavyweights Japan head to the Thuwunna Stadium to take on continental minnows Myanmar in a ‘David vs Goliath’ 2026 World Cup qualifier.

The math is simple for Myanmar. They either win this game against the odds and take their qualification hopes to Round 6 or bow out of qualifying at the first hurdle, just as they’ve done in all four previous campaigns. Stranded at the bottom of Group B, the hosts trail second-placed Syria by six points ahead of the last two qualifying rounds, while their -17 goal difference requires a thumping win to keep them in the qualification frame. That’s borderline impossible, considering Michael Feichtenbeiner’s men have conceded a whopping 19 goals across their opening four Group B outings while netting a mere two in return. Myanmar can draw some comfort from their recent results at home. They’ve only lost once across their last six home internationals (W2, D3), conceding under 1.5 goals in all five unbeaten games.

Meanwhile, painful memories of a frustrating AFC Asian Cup quarter-final exit are still fresh in the Japanese minds, even though they’ve gone from strength to strength since returning from Qatar. Hajime Moriyasu’s side won both World Cup qualifiers against North Korea in March without conceding to uphold their 100% win ratio in Group B and secure progression into the third qualifying round with two games to spare. They’ve been a dominant force in this section, with three of their four victories coming by 3+ goals ‘to nil, including a 5-0 humbling of Myanmar in the reverse fixture. That result maintained Japan’s flawless H2H as they’ve won all three previous duels between the sides by a staggering 17-0 aggregate scoreline. Since they’ve yet to concede in the ongoing cycle, another emphatic success could be on the cards.

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