Soccer

Japan to host Mongolia at Saitama Stadium when World Cup qualifying resumes

Kyodo

Japan will play its home opener in the second round of 2022 World Cup Asian qualifying against Mongolia at Saitama Stadium on Oct. 10, the Japan Football Association announced Monday.

The Samurai Blue will start their Group F campaign against Myanmar in Yangon on Sept. 10 and travel to Dushanbe to play Tajikistan on Oct. 15. Japan will also face Kyrgyzstan away on Nov. 14.

The second round of Asian qualifying for the World Cup finals in Qatar will run from Sept. 5, 2019-June 9, 2020.

The 34 top-ranked sides in Asia, along with the six winners of first-round ties, have been drawn in eight qualifying groups. The group winners and four best runners-up will advance to the third round. The 12 sides will also automatically qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup.

Led by Hajime Moriyasu, Japan is hoping to qualify for a seventh straight World Cup as the tournament comes to Asia for just the second time.