Substitute Masashi Oguro snatched an injury-time winner as Japan beat North Korea 2-1 in the first match of the final round of Asian 2006 World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
Japan will be wary of the threat posed by North Korea when they meet in the opening match of the final round of Asian World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
China suffered a traumatic exit from the Asian 2006 World Cup qualifiers despite trouncing Hong Kong 7-0 in Guangzhou on Wednesday.
China's hopes of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup finals could disappear on Wednesday if they fail to collect a big win over Hong Kong.
China awoke on Thursday to the bitter reality that their hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup were hanging by a thread.
Japan and China will be among five teams looking to book their spot in the next round of Asian World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
South Korea hope history will repeat itself when they clash with three-times champions Iran in a potentially explosive Asian Cup quarter-final on Saturday.
South Korea were held to a humiliating 0-0 away draw by the Maldives in a shock Asian World Cup qualifying result on Wednesday.
Japan's players have been plunging into steam baths to acclimatise for their Asian World Cup qualifier in sweltering Singapore on Wednesday.
Having proved themselves on the international stage over the past year, Japan, South Korea and China are set to battle for regional supremacy at club level in the inaugural 'A3' Champions Cup.