x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Former hosts South Korea qualify for 2014 World Cup from Group B

Asian qualifying round-up: Frank Rijkaard left facing a probable sack after Saudi Arabia's hopes end in Australia.

South Korea saw off Kuwait with two second-half goals yesterday to book their place in the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The South Koreans, semi-finalists in the 2002 World Cup they jointly hosted with Japan, went into the match needing at least a draw to be sure of progressing and strikes from Lee Dong-Gook and Lee Keun-Ho saw them through as Group B winners.

Frank Rijkaard was left facing the sack last night after Saudi Arabia's World Cup hopes ended in a four-minute spell in Australia.

The Saudis, the three-time Asian champions, led 2-1 in Melbourne and were set to join their hosts in taking one of the 10 spots in the fourth round of qualifiers in the region.

However, three goals in four minutes from the 73rd sealed a 4-2 victory for the already qualified home side and meant Oman squeezed through to the fourth round with a 2-0 win in Muscat over Thailand.

Bahrain overran hapless Indonesia 10-0 yesterday but it was not enough for the Gulf nation to advance into the next round.

Bahrain needed Qatar to lose to have a chance of going through, but they drew 2-2 with Iran, allowing both teams to advance from Group E.

Jordan, who had already qualified for the final stage, ended their Group A campaign with a 3-1 defeat in China.

Jordan's defeat allowed Iraq to claim top spot in the group with a 7-1 thrashing of Singapore.

In Group C, Uzbekistan preserved their unbeaten record with a 1-0 win over Japan. The pool's other match between Tajikistan and North Korea ended 1-1.

* Agencies