Australia beat Jordan 5-1 on Tuesday to finish top of Group B in the second round of Asia's 2018 World Cup qualifying, while Harry Redknapp's side were knocked out after not being one of the four best runners-up.
A brace from Tim Cahill and goals from Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo saw the Socceroos beat the Chivalrous easily, with Abdallah Deeb providing a late consolation. Jordan could have stolen top spot had they won.
Japan cemented their place at the top of Group E with a 5-0 win over Syria after an unfortunate Hamdi Al Masri own goal, a brace from Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa and late goals from Keisuke Honda and Genki Haraguchi.
Iran beat Oman 2-0 in a crunch clash to decide top spot in Group D, while Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates' 1-1 draw saw them both advance to the third round of qualifying.
Here are all the results and the final standings in Round 2 after Tuesday's action ("Q" denotes qualification to next round):
|Australia vs. Jordan||5-1|
|Afghanistan vs. Singapore||2-1|
|Japan vs. Syria||5-0|
|Philippines vs. Korea DPR||3-2|
|Lebanon vs. Myanmar||1-1|
|China PR vs. Qatar||2-0|
|India vs. Turkmenistan||1-2|
|Uzbekistan vs. Bahrain||1-0|
|Tajikistan vs. Kyrgyzstan||0-1|
|Palestine vs. Timor-Leste||7-0|
|Iraq vs. Vietnam||1-0|
|Iran vs. Oman||2-0|
|United Arab Emirates vs. Saudi Arabia||1-1|
|Maldives vs. Bhutan||4-2|
|1||Saudi Arabia (Q)||8||6||2||0||28||4||+24||20|
|2||China PR (Q)||8||5||2||1||27||1||+26||17|
|1||Korea Republic (Q)||7||7||0||0||24||0||+24||21|
Round 3 will comprise the 12 remaining teams, drawn into two groups of six, and will take place between August 2016 and September 2017.
The top two sides in each group will qualify for the showpiece in Russia, and the third-placed teams will face each other to reach the intercontinental play-off with a team from CONCACAF.
Australia finished their Round 2 campaign in style in front of a partisan crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium and found themselves 3-0 up by half-time courtesy of three assists from Robbie Kruse.
Cahill, captaining the side in place of Mile Jedinak, capped off an excellent start to the game after 24 minutes when he found the net—his 21st goal in 27 World Cup qualifiers for Australia. The former Everton man was left with the simplest of tasks after Kruse picked him out with a low cross.
Mooy—who fed Kruse down the right in the buildup to the first goal—bagged the second after Kruse found him in space during a counter-attack, and the Melbourne City midfielder finished smartly one-on-one against Amer Shafi:
Five minutes later, Cahill put the game to bed after Kruse—again set free by Mooy—popped up a cross for him to head home. Football writer Ray Gatt hailed the trio's performance:
That half was a three-man show...Mooy, Kruse and Cahill. Stunning performance from the Socceroos to lead 3-0 at half time.— Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) March 29, 2016
Things got even worse for Jordan after the break when Celtic's Tom Rogic raced onto a deflected effort from Cahill and coolly caressed the ball in:
Substitute Massimo Luongo added a fifth just minutes after coming on, tucking in a cross from fellow sub Chris Ikonomidis, and Deeb scored his side's only reply with an excellent curling effort into the top corner.
The Socceroos will scarcely have an easier game than they did here, but after romping through Round 2 they'll be among the teams to beat in the next phase.
Japan and Syria were in a similar position in their group prior to kick-off, and it was the home side who came out on top at the Saitama Stadium.
They took a deserved first-half lead, though Syria were unlucky to concede in the manner they did, as Ibrahim Almeh's attempted clearance rebounded straight into the goal off Al Masri's face:
Syria attempted to come back into the match and struck the post in the second half, but Kagawa killed off the match with a chest-and-volley swivel.
Honda supplied the third in the 88th minute with an expertly directed header across goal, and Kagawa found the net again in injury time before Haraguchi rounded out the scoring.
Also in Group E, Afghanistan and Singapore had little to play for, with no hope of finishing in the qualification places.
The Lions of Khorasan went ahead through a Khaibar Amani tap-in before Josef Shirdel doubled their tally, which was just as well since Fazrul Nawaz hit back late on.
Sardar Azmoun's double proved the difference for Iran as they booked their place in the next round of qualifying, while Oman crashed out.
There was late drama in Manila as Korea DPR let a 2-1 lead slip in the closing moments against the Philippines, with Manuel Ott and Iain Ramsay scoring in the last six minutes for the hosts to turn the game on its head.
In a similar fashion, Bhutan spurned the opportunity to pick up their first points of the qualifying round at the end of a brutal campaign that has seen them lose 12-0 to China and 15-0 to Qatar, as noted by FIFA's Alex Stone:
At 2-1 up with nine minutes remaining, Bhutan conceded an Ali Ashfaq penalty to tie the game up. They were then left devastated when Naiz Hassan's 87th-minute header and Ashfaq's stoppage-time goal saw them condemned to a 4-2 defeat.