Japan’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign started spectacularly, with Ayase Ueda notching a hat trick en route to a 5-0 win over Myanmar for the Samurai Blue.
Ueda kicked off the scoring after just 11 minutes when he got on the end of a cross from Takumi Minamino and headed home for the opening goal.
The Samurai Blue kept on the pressure and doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Daichi Kamada blasted one home from 20 yards. Ueda then added his second just before halftime with a clever finish from a tight angle after Ritsu Doan played him in beautifully.
With a three goal lead at halftime, Japan had the match well in hand, but they continued to push and Ueda only needed five minutes after the break to finish his hat trick. Once again, Minamino provided the helper as Ueda coolly flicked the ball past the Myanmar goalkeeper and into the back of the net for his third of the match.
Doan wrapped up the match late on when he took down a pass, turned and buried a shot to add a goal to his assist on the match.
It was a dominant performance for the Samurai Blue, who could have easily had several more goals. The team, made up entirely of Meiji Yasuda J.League stars present and past, continued their phenomenal play, making it seven straight wins by a combined score of 29-5.
Japan now sit atop Group B in the second round of AFC World Cup qualifying on three points ahead of a trip to Saudi Arabia, where they will play Syria on Tuesday. The road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup is officially underway and the Samurai Blue are still in top form.