RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – North Korea qualified for its first World Cup since 1966, tying Saudi Arabia 0-0 on Wednesday night to finish second in its Asian final-round group.

North Korea, which famously upset Italy at the 1966 tournament in England, because the sixth team in next year’s 32-nation field, joining host South Africa, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

South Korea (4-0-4) won Asia Group B with 16 points, and North Korea and Saudi Arabia both finished at 3-2-3 and 12 points. North Korea qualified because it had a plus-two goal difference to Saudi Arabia’s even.

Saudi Arabia advanced to a playoff against Bahrain (3-4-1), which finished third in Group A behind Australia (6-0-2) and Japan (4-1-3). The Asian playoff winner advances to a playoff against Oceania champion New Zealand for a World Cup berth.

Iran (2-1-5) finished fourth in Group B and was eliminated with a 1-1 tie at South Korea, which got an 81st-minute equalizer from Park Ji-sung.

In Group A, Australia beat visiting Japan 2-1 on a pair of second-half goals by Tim Cahill, and Bahrain defeated visiting Uzbekistan 1-0 as Mahmood Abdulrahman scored on a free kick in the 74th minute.


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