The Group D favorites prevailed early Monday morning in Australia, though one had to work a heck of a lot longer than the other.
Let’s not waste any more time with introductions. To the games:
Japan 4-0 Palestine
Palestine knew there was a gulf between their side and reigning Asian Cup champion Japan, and the titleholders showed them how wide it was on Monday in Australia.
Yasuhito Endo, Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda and Maya Yoshida all scored as Japan thumped Palestine 4-0 to move atop Group D with the biggest rout of the young tournament.
Japan is FIFA’s 54th-ranked nation, while Palestine is No. 115, and it took the underdogs a long time to adjust to the challenge. That’s not a slight on the Palestine side, whose last six matches were against China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India (They won three of those and drew one).
Compare that to Japan’s 3W-1L mark in its last four against much tougher competition — Brazil, Jamaica, Honduras and Australia — and it’s easy to see this was a tall ask for Palestine. You can see from the highlights below, Japan had a lot of time to work.
Iraq 1-0 Jordan
The Lions of Mesopotamia kept knocking on the door, and eventually entered the Jordan goal.
Yaser Kasim’s deflected 77th minute goal, after a great individual move in the 18, gave the favorites their breakthrough, and an 84th minute second yellow to Jordan’s Anas Bani Yaseen helped put the three points in the bank.
Iraq had a lot of the possession, and underdogs Jordan will be upset to not have stolen a point.
Midnight ET — Kuwait vs. South Korea
2am ET — Oman vs. Australia