Indonesia seal historic World Cup qualifiers berth as Thailand, Malaysia post wins

AUFC logo

12 Jun 2024


History was made at Jakarta’s iconic Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Tuesday as Indonesia defeated the Philippines 2-0 in an all-ASEAN contest on the final matchday of their Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ campaign to book a place in the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the first time in their history.

This week’s result also meant that Tim Garuda will also make it to back-to-back AFC Asian Cups as they also booked a place in the 2027 edition to be held in Saudi Arabia after finishing second in Group F – eight points behind toppers Iraq who defeated Kim Sang-sik’s Vietnam 3-1 in their final game in Basra.

Shin Tae-yong’s Indonesia knew they had to get a win in their final second-round fixture after they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Iraq on Matchday Five while fellow Southeast Asian side Vietnam defeated the Azkals 3-2, powered by a double from Nguyen Tien Linh, to keep their third round hopes alive.

With close to 65,000 fans watching on, Indonesia began Tuesday’s clash on the front foot and Heerenveen midfielder Thom Haye sent the crowd into raptures by giving the home side the lead just past the half-hour mark, curling a long-range strike into the top corner of Kevin Mendoza’s goal.

Rizky Ridho then sealed Indonesia’s 2-0 victory 11 minutes after the restart heading home a free-kick from Nathan Tjoe-A-On, which means that Shin’s side will await the outcome of the draw for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers to be conducted at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on June 27, when 18 teams will be pooled into three groups with eight direct spots up for grabs for the 2026 tournament.

“Because of the players' hard work on the field, we managed to create a new history and we finally got through to the third round of the World Cup qualification,” Indonesia head coach Shin said after the historic result.

Elsewhere, in Group C, Thailand wrapped up their qualification campaign with a 3-1 win against Singapore at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. Suphanat Mueanta, Poramet Arjvirai and Jaroensak Wonggorn were on the scoresheet as the War Elephants posted their second win of the second round, having held China PR to a 1-1 draw on the penultimate matchday.

The Thais, however, failed to progress to the third round despite finishing level on eight points and the same goal difference with second-placed China, as the head-to-head record against Branko Ivankovic’s side counted against them. Singapore, meanwhile, finished bottom of the group.

Malaysia also wrapped up their qualification campaign with a draw and a defeat, but it was not enough for them to progress despite collecting three wins and a draw from their six Group D fixtures. Harimau Malaya had held Kyrgyz Republic to a 1-1 draw on the fifth matchday on June 6 before goals from Safawi Rasid, Paulo Josue and Adib Raop gave them a 3-1 win against Chinese Taipei at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Tuesday.

The Kyrgyz, who finished one point above Malaysia, and group winners Oman instead progressed from the group where Kim Pan-gon’s side gave a good account of themselves.

Myanmar closed out their qualification campaign in Vientiane as a 4-1 defeat to DPR Korea saw them finish bottom of Group B, having collected one point from their six matches.

Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Laos are among the Southeast Asian sides who will move into the third round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifying where 24 nations will battle for the six spots left in the 2027 tournament to be held in Saudi Arabia.

Photo: PSSI, Myanmar FF