J.League stars past and present fire Japan to 5-0 win in Myanmar

J.League stars past and present fire Japan to 5-0 win in Myanmar

Koki Ogawa and Keito Nakamura each netted braces as Japan cruised past Myanmar, 5-0, in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

The Samurai Blue entered the match in Yangon having already clinched a place in the next round of qualifying and, with their win, have now guaranteed themselves first place in their group.

It took 17 minutes for Nakamura to put Japan on the scoreboard first as the Gamba Osaka product raced in down the left, cut onto his right foot and buried a shot.

Another former Gamba man, Ritsu Doan, then doubled the Samurai Blue lead. Daichi Kamada took a shot that rang off the post and Doan was first to react, knocking in the rebound to make it 2-0.

Ogawa, who is currently on loan in the Netherlands from Yokohama FC, then hit for two in the second half. First, he met a cross at the back post and delivered a clinical header; then, he hopped onto a loose ball in the box and drilled it into the back of the net as the Samurai Blue went 4-0 up.

Nakamura then wrapped up the match in stoppage time with a gorgeous curling effort from 20 yards.

Daiya Maekawa got the start in goal for Japan, marking a step forward for the Vissel Kobe man in the fight to win the No. 1 goalkeeper spot. It was also a big day for Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Takumu Kawamura, who earned his second cap and first appearance in a competitive contest.

The Samurai Blue will be back in action on June 11 when they host Syria in Hiroshima in the final match of the second round of the AFC's World Cup qualifying route. The third round, from which Japan can qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, will begin in September.