SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — China advanced to the third round in Asian qualifying for the World Cup by beating Syria 3-1 on Tuesday.
Syria had already confirmed its place among the final 12 as one of the eight group winners and China’s win secured progression as one of the four best-performing runners-up.
Zhang Xizhe scored two minutes before the break and second-half goals from Wu Lei and Zhang Yuning sealed China’s fourth consecutive win. China's only World Cup appearance was in 2002.
The third round starts in September.
Iran beat Iraq 1-0 on Sardar Azmoun's first-half goal to seal first place in Group C though both teams advanced.
United Arab Emirates topped Group G by defeating Vietnam 3-2. Both teams progressed to the next round.
Saudi Arabia finished first in Group D with the 3-0 win over Uzbekistan, which was eliminated. Salman Al-Faraj scored twice and Ali Al-Hassan had one in the match played in Riyadh.
Oman and Lebanon confirmed their spots in the next round to join South Korea, which qualified Sunday.
Australia and Japan had already secured their places but were the only two teams to do so by winning all eight games in the second round.
Australia defeated Jordan 1-0 in Kuwait City with Stoke City defender Harry Souttar heading home after 77 minutes to score his sixth goal in just his fifth international appearance.
Earlier Tuesday, a hat trick in six minutes by Ado Onaiwu highlighted Japan's 5-1 victory over Kyrgyzstan.
In his first international start, Onaiwu put Japan ahead in Osaka from the penalty spot after 27 minutes and quickly added two more.
Kyrgyzstan pulled a goal back just before the break thanks to a Mirlan Murzaev penalty, just the second Japan conceded in the group.
Sho Sasaki restored Japan’s three-goal cushion with 18 minutes remaining and Takuma Asano added a fifth five minutes later to take Japan’s total to 46 in the second round.