World Cup qualifying: Iran clinches berth; Saudi Arabia, South Korea close

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Mehdi Taremi’s early second-half goal was enough to lead Iran past neighbors Iraq and into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Iran is the 14th nation to gain entry to the tournament and the second from Asia after hosts Qatar.

[ QUALIFYING HQ: Europe | Oceania | Asia ]

AIso headed for Qatar are Germany, Denmark, Brazil, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Argentina.

2022 will be Iran’s sixth World Cup. Team Melli has never advanced past the group stage.

[ QUALIFYING HQ: Africa | South America | CONCACAF ]

Elsewhere, South Korea moved within a a breath of a berth in Qatar by beating Lebanon 1-0 away through a Gue-sung Cho strike.

UAE beat Syria 2-0 to stay alive but are eight points behind South Korea with three matches left. Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria need varying amounts of very good luck to reach third-place and a playoff spot.

Group B finids Saudi Arabia firming up its place in Qatar with a 1-0 win over Oman, while Japan Is four points back following a 2-0 defeat of China. Australia has its hold on third secure after rolling past Vietnam 4-0.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s hopeful pass skips past a fumbling defneder to send Porto star Taremi through on goal and the Iranian star does the rest.