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Asian Qualifiers: A look back at Group F

Kuala Lumpur: With the draw for the final round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar set to be held on July 1, excitement is building as the 12 teams get set to learn their opponents.

The 12 sides went through extremely challenging times to advance to the final round, where the two group winners and runners-up will join hosts Qatar in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Finals while the third-placed teams from the two groups will advance to the Confederation Playoff, with the winners moving into the Inter-Confederation Playoff.

Ahead of the draw, retraces how the 12 teams booked their places from the second round of qualifying with the focus on Group F.

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Japan were the clear favourites in Group F of the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar and Tajikistan knew they would need something special to stop the four-time AFC Asian Cup champions from winning the group but Japan did not slip-up even once throughout their campaign.

Asian Qualifiers - Review: Group F

Hajime Moriyasu's side opened with a 2-0 win over Myanmar, following up with a 6-0 defeat of Mongolia, 3-0 against Tajikistan and 2-0 over Kyrgyz Republic before the Asian Qualifiers were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic after Matchday Six on November 19, 2019.

It would be 14 months before Japan would see competitive action again but it was business as usual as the Samurai Blue defeated Mongolia 14-0 on March 30, 2021.

That was followed by a 10-0 defeat of Myanmar on May 28 with Tajikistan beaten 4-1 and Kyrgyz Republic 5-1 as Japan advanced to the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a perfect record of eight wins.

They will now set their sights on a seventh consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup Finals while Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Myanmar will compete in the final round of the Qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

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