Amid war, Syria hopes to reach World Cup for 1st time


Korea Republic headed to ninth consecutive World Cup

Syria has never yet qualified for the World Cup.

The results: AFRICA: Group A: Democratic Republic of Congo 2 (Mbemba 9, Mpoku 47) drew with Tunisia 2 (Moke 77-own goal, Badri 79).

South Korean midfielder Son Heung-min (C) tries to dribble past a Uzbekistan player during the teams' World Cup qualifying match at Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent on September 5, 2017.

AUSTRALIA has been condemned to the World Cup playoffs after Saudi Arabia defeated Japan 1-0 in Jeddah this morning.

Fahad Al Muwallad's vital goal took Saudi Arabia to Russian Federation 2018.

Disappointment at failure to progress will be felt particularly in China, whose footballing ambitions have been central stage recently but who despite winning 2-1 against Qatar (they have won three of their last four games after a awful start in the final qualifying round) could only manage fifth in Group A, ahead only of the 2022 hosts.

That left Saudi Arabia needing to win by just one goal against Japan.

Considering Syria have been forced to play all their qualifiers outside of their own country, because of the conflict raging there, their feat is astounding.

A two-legged match against Australia now awaits the side in October.

Kim Min-woo then stung Nesterov's palms as the visitors built some momentum.

Al-Mulwallad came on for Mohammaed Al-Sahlawi straight after halftime and became a menace straight away, forcing Eiji Kawashima into a miraculous close-range save with his leg in the 55th minute.

"I know many people expected to me to score goals, but I wasn't good enough", he said of his performance.

South Korea spurned several late chances before settling for the 0-0 draw in Uzbekistan, grabbing the second automatic berth in Group A as their heartbroken hosts missed out.

The omens were good: Iran had already finished top of the group, and gone through to Russian Federation 2018, so was playing for pride.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the national team began its training in Tehran on Saturday in preparation for Tuesday's match against Iran.

One of the greatest footballing runs in recent memory goes on. For Syria to qualify for the tournament in Russian Federation, its chief worldwide ally, it must beat Iran, its regional backer. Despite battering the Thais over the full 90 minutes, dominating possession and raining shots down, Australia could only manage a 2-1 win on home soil.

"It's tough qualifying for a World Cup".

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