North Korea's players greet their supporters at the end of...

North Korea's players greet their supporters at the end of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 preliminary joint qualification round 2 match between Japan and North Korea at the National Stadium Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Tokyo. Credit: AP/Eugene Hoshiko

ZURICH — FIFA has canceled the North Korea-Japan World Cup qualifier scheduled for Tuesday in Pyongyang.

FIFA on Saturday "decided that the qualifying fixture shall neither be played nor rescheduled" because North Korea couldn't come up with an alternative venue and there was no room in the calendar for a postponement.

“The matter and match outcome will be referred to the FIFA disciplinary committee,” it added, which suggested North Korea will be sanctioned with a 3-0 forfeit.

North Korea has so far only one win from three games — all away from home — in Group B of Asia qualifying. It has qualified only for the World Cups of 1966 and 2010.

Japan has three wins from three and leads the group.

North Korea said on Wednesday it couldn't host Japan and requested a neutral venue “due to unavoidable circumstances,” the Asian Football Confederation said without elaborating.

North Korea lost to Japan 1-0 in Tokyo on Thursday.

The Koreans have scheduled home games in June against Syria and Myanmar.

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