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After encountering an early stumbling block on the road to Russia for the 2018 World Cup finals, Japan comfortably beat Thailand 2-0 on Tuesday night to pick up its first three points of the final round of Asian qualifiers — and perhaps save coach Vahid Halilhozic from the very real possibility being fired.

Having been stunned 2-1 at home to the United Arab Emirates last Thursday, the general consensus, at least among the press, was that anything less than a win for Japan over rank outsider Thailand — in the final round of qualifiers for the first time since 2002 — would have probably spelled the end for Halilhodzic.

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