Asia's soccer heavyweights got off to fast starts in World Cup qualifying, with Japan, Australia and South Korea combining for 17 goals in big wins on home soil on Thursday.

The long road to the 2026 World Cup — which will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico — began in earnest in Asia, with 36 teams in action Thursday.

Ayase Ueda scored a hat trick for Japan, which began its bid to reach an eighth straight World Cup with a 5-0 win over Myanmar.