With the third spherical of Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup now at its midway stage, lots has transpired within the race to achieve Qatar 2022 with a lot nonetheless to play for.
With 5 matches remaining, each workforce can nonetheless mathematically qualify however some are just about out of the equation whereas others stay firmly on observe.
– The unheralded gamers lighting up the Asian World Cup qualifiers
– The largest-ever wins in FIFA World Cup qualification historical past
Forward of Tuesday’s Match Day 6, we take a better have a look at Asia’s World Cup qualification image.
Frontrunners: Iran, South Korea
Solely the highest two sides in every group are assured a berth at subsequent 12 months’s World Cup and in the intervening time, that duo seems to be Iran and South Korea in Group A.
With each but to style defeat, Iran paved the way on 13 factors and the South Koreans are two behind with clear daylight between them and the chasing pack, as third-placed Lebanon solely have 5 factors to their names.
Given they’re two of the continent’s heavyweights, and contemplating they’ve each featured on the previous two World Cups, their dominance is hardly a shock and they need to comfortably advance barring collapses of unimaginable proportions.
In with an opportunity: Lebanon, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Syria
Ending inside the highest two could already be a bridge too far for Group A’s 4 different contenders however, given the third-place workforce advances right into a playoff, all just isn’t misplaced but.
With solely three factors separating Lebanon from backside aspect Syria, every of those groups can be optimistic of their prospects offered they will end the marketing campaign strongly.
With 4 attracts and only a loss of their 5 matches to this point, Iraq are maybe only one or two tweaks away from clicking into gear and could possibly be a superb guess for third spot.
Nearly as good as eradicated: None
Contemplating the slender margin separating the underside 4 groups, none of them are actually out of the reckoning for the playoff berth.
Frontrunners: Saudi Arabia
Having racked up 4 wins and a draw of their opening 5 qualifiers, Saudi Arabia at the moment sit high of Group B and that will come as a shock to some given the likes of Japan and Australia had been the early favourites.
However the Inexperienced Falcons are the place they’re on benefit and, having claimed a formidable 1-0 win over Japan in October, additionally handed their most up-to-date check by holding the Socceroos to a 0-0 draw on Thursday.
They must face each these sides once more on the run house however will be happy with their shows to this point.
In with an opportunity: Australia, Japan, Oman
Till their previous two outings — a 2-1 loss to Japan and a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia — Australia had been additionally wanting in fairly good condition, though they continue to be in with a good chance on ten factors.
A severe knee damage to star defender Harry Souttar will nevertheless be a blow forward of Tuesday’s recreation towards China PR.
In the meantime, a degree behind the Socceroos, Japan are lastly getting some outcomes on the board after a sluggish begin however are removed from on the their finest, and are but to point out the dominance anticipated of the Samurai Blue.
In fourth place is Oman, who surprised the Japanese on Match Day 1 and at the moment have seven factors to their tally. Third spot and a playoff berth could be essentially the most sensible objective for Oman though that would change if they will pull off one other upset towards the Samurai Blue on Tuesday.
Nearly as good as eradicated: China PR, Vietnam
With no factors from the 5 matches, Vietnam are successfully out of the operating. Then once more, simply attending to this stage for the primary time ever was already an achievement in itself.
The Vietnamese have been aggressive in nearly all their outings, which have included single-goal defeats to Australia and Japan, and ought to be aiming to choose up a win or two within the second half of the marketing campaign.
And whereas China PR are in a comparatively stronger place on 4 factors, none of their performances to this point counsel they’ll have what it takes to claw their approach again into Group B’s high three.