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FIFA Cancels World Cup Qualifier Match between North Korea and Japan in Pyongyang

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The North Korea-Japan World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang was cancelled by Fifa due to North Korea’s failure to suggest an alternative venue. The match outcome will be referred to the FIFA disciplinary committee with North Korea likely facing a 3-0 forfeit. North Korea’s request for a neutral venue was denied after losing 1-0 in Tokyo earlier in the week. Japan currently leads the Asia qualifiers with three wins, while North Korea has only won once in three away Group B games. The Koreans are set to compete against Syria and Myanmar in two home games in June.

Fifa cancels North Korea vs Japan World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

North Korea s forward Han Kwang Song (right) fights for the ball with Japan s defender Shogo Taniguchi (centre) during World Cup 2026 qualifier football match between Japan and North Korea at the National Stadium in Tokyo on March 21, 2024. — AFP

Fifa, the international governing body of association football, announced Saturday that the North Korea-Japan World Cup qualifier scheduled for Tuesday in Pyongyang has been cancelled.

According to Daily Mail, Fifa issued a statement saying that it has “decided that the qualifying fixture shall neither be played nor rescheduled” because North Korea failed to suggest an alternative venue and there was no space on the schedule for a postponement.

“The matter and match outcome will be referred to the FIFA disciplinary committee,” the statement added, suggesting North Korea will be sanctioned with a 3-0 forfeit.

Earlier this week, North Korea announced that it couldn’t host Japan and requested a neutral venue “due to unavoidable circumstances,” the Asian Football Confederation said, without giving further details.

However, some Fifa fans may have expected this turn of events given the strained relations between the two nations.

North Korea lost to Japan 1-0 in Tokyo on Thursday.

So far, in three away Group B games of the Asia qualifiers, North Korea have only managed to be victorious once.

Additionally, the country has qualified only for the World Cups of 1966 and 2010.

Currently, Japan lead the Asia qualifiers with three wins from three.

Meanwhile, the Koreans are set to compete against Syria and Myanmar in two home games in June.

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Impact of the Cancellation

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History of FIFA Qualifiers

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Controversial Matches

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Current Standings in the Qualifiers

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Upcoming Matches

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