- Asia’s second qualifying spherical resumes motion after 18 months
- Twelve spots in Round 3 might be decided over the approaching weeks
- Korea DPR’s latest withdrawal leaves Group H within the stability
All eyes throughout Asia might be on the continent’s second spherical of qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ which resumes on Friday after an 18-month delay because of Covid-19. With Korea DPR having not too long ago introduced their withdrawal from this marketing campaign, 39 groups will compete throughout 57 matches from 28 May to fifteen June for a spot within the subsequent spherical.
With security and well being remaining the highest precedence, every group might be staged in a centralised venue. Up for grabs is development to Round 3 as both a bunch winner or as one of many 4 greatest runners-up. Join FIFA.com as we preview what guarantees to be a dramatic finale to the spherical.
Group A: Suzhou, China
Group B: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Group C: Arad, Riffa and Isa Town, Bahrain
Group D: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Group E: Doha, Qatar
Group F: Chiba, Osaka and Suita, Japan
Group G: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Group H: Goyang, Korea Republic
Iran-Bahrain, Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa, 7 June
This match is more likely to be pivotal as each groups chase automated qualifying spot for Group C. IR Iran, Asia’s second highest-ranked facet, are surprisingly discovered languishing in third after 4 outings – Team Melli are trailing leaders Iraq and hosts Bahrain by 5 and three factors respectively. Despite having a recreation in hand, Iran’s new boss Dragan Skocic is all too conscious that his facet cannot afford to drop additional factors.
The two sides’ historic rivalry provides one other layer of intrigue of this showdown. Two many years again, Bahrain drew away and received at house to finish Iran’s marketing campaign for Korea/Japan 2002. Four years later, the Iranians took revenge with 4 factors in opposition to the (*12*) as they booked passage to Germany 2006. Iran might be seeking to the purpose-scoring type of Karim Ansarifard and Sardar Azmoun, whereas Bahrain boast the skills of Czech-based striker Abdulla Yusuf Helal and Mahdi Al Humaidan – the latter incomes the penalty which yielded the one purpose within the pair’s first-leg assembly.
The different headline-grabbers
In Group A, with runaway leaders Syria more likely to win the part, China PR are left to compete for second place in opposition to Philippines and Maldives. Team Dragon, below new coach Li Tie, have a recreation in hand and may rely on house benefit as they purpose to progress.
The similar will be stated of Group B’s Kuwait who taking part in as hosts, might be hoping to mount a critical problem for prime place. Frontrunners Australia, nevertheless, will look to the pink-scorching type of striker Jamie Maclaren and new face Harry Souttar to breed their earlier type which noticed them preserve an ideal report with 4 wins from 4.
Group D leaders Saudi Arabia enter the marketing campaign aiming to consolidate their place on the summit. However, the house workforce might be cautious of second-positioned Uzbekistan, who will look to the purpose-scoring type of prime-striker Eldor Shomurodov to show the desk within the two sides’ assembly within the closing matchday. In Group E, with hosts Qatar granted automated qualification, second-positioned Oman enter the marketing campaign aiming to progress as part winners.
In Group F, Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu has known as up a sequence of European-based stars, together with captain Maya Yoshida and Hannover 96 attacker Genki Haraguchi, as they search to spherical off their marketing campaign with an unblemished report. Sitting on the prime with a 5-level cushion, the Samurai Blue can seal early development with three factors in opposition to Myanmar no matter different outcomes.
In distinction, the competitors in Group G appears to be like fairly open with 4 groups contending for the automated qualifying spot. Leaders Vietnam arrive in Dubai hoping to strengthen their place on the prime however hosts United Arab Emirates, regardless of sitting on the fourth place, have a recreation in hand and may rely on house benefit and placing-ace Ali Mabkhout to place themselves again into rivalry.
With Korea DPR’s withdrawal, Group H turns into a 3-method battle between leaders Turkmenistan, Korea Republic and Lebanon. Despite trailing the Central Asians by some extent, the Taegeuk Warriors, with a recreation in hand, can look to their star-studded line-up captained by Son Heungmin as they search to win the group and advance robotically.
Group E leaders Qatar have sealed automated qualification as hosts and in the event that they end as group winners or one of many 4 greatest second-positioned groups, their spot within the subsequent spherical might be claimed by the fifth greatest second-positioned workforce.