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World Cup 2026 qualifying: Japan awarded forfeit 3-0 win against North Korea by Fifa

Japan and North Korea in action in Tokyo
Japan beat North Korea 1-0 in Tokyo earlier in March [Getty Images]

Japan have been awarded a 3-0 forfeit win after North Korea called off a 2026 World Cup qualifier due to be held in Pyongyang earlier in March, says Japan's Football Association.

North Korea requested the match be held at a neutral venue due to worries over infectious diseases in Japan.

The JFA said it had been informed by Fifa's disciplinary committee that the match had been forfeited.

The win means Japan go through to the third round of World Cup qualifiers.

"Although the players lost an important opportunity to play, I see this as a positive step forward," Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu said.

"Naturally, we will not be satisfied with this result, but will continue to build up our strength for the national team activities in June, the final qualifying round, and the World Cup."

Japanese health authorities reported a significant rise in strep throat infections in mid-March, with cases being diagnosed at quadruple the pace of recent years.

Fifa previously said the match - which should have taken place on Tuesday, 26 March - could not be rescheduled.

Japan beat North Korea 1-0 in Tokyo on 21 March.

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[BBC]
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[BBC]