- Japan and Tajikistan qualify for next year's FIFA U-17 World Cup
- First two nations from Asia to book tickets to Peru 2019
- Will be Japan's ninth trip to U-17 World Cup, Tajikistan's second
Japan and Tajikistan became the first two nations from Asia to secure qualification to the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2019 after they both reached the AFC U-16 Championship semi-finals with wins over Oman and Korea DPR respectively.
Both ties went down to the wire. Japan edged Oman 2-1 in the day's first quarter-final. Jun Nishikawa gave Japan the lead in the 14th minute when he ran on to a lobbed through pass from Ryotaro Araki, controlled the bouncing ball before shooting on goal. Oman goalkeeper Al Ajmi initially made the save but the ball deflected off defender Khalfan Al Naabi and trickled over the line before he could clear.
However, Oman found an equaliser just seven minutes later. Al Azhar Hamza Al Balushi sent in a cross from the right side of the penalty area and Tariq Khamis Al Mashary leapt above his marker and steered in a strong header at the far post.
Japan scored what proved to be the winning goal nine minutes before the fulltime whistle. Nishikawa turned provider on this occasion, sending in a pinpoint cross for Shoji Toyama, who guided in a shot from close range.
Japan are headed to their ninth U-17 World Cup next year. Their best performances in tournament history came in 1993 and 2011 when they made it to the quarter-finals.
They will face either Indonesia or Australia in the AFC U-16 Championship semi-finals.
Tajikistan became the second side from the region to qualify for next year's U-17 World Cup after a dramatic 4-2 win on penalties against Korea DPR, after the match finished 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes.
Like Japan earlier in the day, Tajikistan took the lead in the 14th minute when Rustam Soirov broke free on goal and unleashed a powerful shot into the far, top corner.
Korea DPR created a multitude of chances throughout the match and it took a moment of inspiration in the 69th minute for them to draw level. Ri Hun fired in a shot from approximately 30 metres that proved too much for Tajikistan goalkeeper Mukhriddin Khasanov to make the save. After neither side found a winner in regulation time, the match would be decided on penalties.
Khasanov then turned into the hero of the evening as he made two saves from Korea DPR's spot kicks while the rest of his team were flawless, converting all of their penalties to win the shoot-out 4-2.
Tajikistan are headed to the nation's second U-17 World Cup after they made their debut at Korea 2007, where they finished in the Round of 16.
Tajikistan will play either Korea Republic or India in the AFC U-16 Championship semi-finals.