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Discussion in 'AFC: Tournaments' started by almango, Jul 1, 2021.
Probably 2 early for predictions but I suspect the top 3 seeds will fill the top 3 spaces, just not sure of the order. Hopefully we aren't 3rd this time.
Japan - Went through their group very easily scoring a lot of goals in the process. Without disrespecting their opponents I don't think any of them had the ability to test a team of Japan's ability.
Australia - Also won all of our matches but didn't score as many goals as Japan. Only had one home game during the group and with most of the games in the middle east (an area where Australia has struggled in the past) went a bit better than expected. Jordan was the only team that provided a real test and the other games were pretty comfortable wins.
Saudi Arabia - Won the 2nd round group comfortably but dropped points against teams that finished 3rd and 5th. They can't afford to do that in the 3rd round as Australia discovered last time when draws against Thailand and Iraq sent them to 3rd place.
China - qualified as the best 2nd placed team behind Syria in their group. Still got 19 points with the only points lost being a loss to Syria and a draw against Philippines. A win against the Philippines would have seen them top the group.
Oman - Oman were the 2nd best second placed team with the only points dropped being two losses to Qatar. I don't believe they will figure in the top 3 but they may well influence who does (and in what order).
Vietnam - Had a good campaign so far with a loss to UAE and 2 draws to Thailand the only dropped points in the 2nd round. The 4th best second round team. It's their first time at this level and that lack of experience may play against them but I think they've showed enough that any team that thinks they will take it easy against them may get a big surprise.
Just realized Australia vs China match on Sept 2 has been moved to Qatar due to Australia's quarantine rules. Might try and catch that if not played behind closed doors. Hopefully we get some more matches here in Qatar as that's one thing I'll miss, going to Asian qualifiers in Doha. Oh well, guess I can't complain too much as we get the real thing in 15 months time... hopefully....
I knew it wasn't going to be played in Australia but didn't know where until now. Would have preferred an east Asian location as the time zone suits better. Is a 1PM or 2PM kick off suitable at that time of year or will the game need to be played in the evening. We are 7 hours ahead of Qatar in September.
I'm just going by this... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_FIFA_World_Cup_qualification_–_AFC_Third_Round
I don't see anything else regarding it.. Sept 2 is a Thursday and it's still really, really hot here. Couldn't imagine them playing any time other than night but we'll see....
I saw it on the Socceroos website with the game being played at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium but time to be confirmed. Looks like I'll be up in the middle of the night. No sense having players suffer unnecessary heat stress just so I can have a nights sleep.
For a while the Official Socceroos website had it as a 3am local kick-off time, ie. 10am AEST. That has since moved back to TBC.
Gut feel predictions for the group. Japan and Saudi Arabia to qualify directly and Australia takes the playoff spot. I think the lack of home games for us will prove to big a handicap to gain a top two spot.
Japan - Oman 0-1
Unbelievable! Not only in Europe are big teams struggling but now also in Asia. In my opinion, every team from pot 1 to pot 4 can qualify for the WC.
Japan 0 Oman 1
Saudi Arabia 3 Vietnam 1
Saudis overturn a 1-0 half time deficit.
Australia 3 China 0
Only game I watched and China was definitely off the pace. An easy win to Australia.
My take on the opening games in this group:
Japan v Oman: Oman are a decent side with a coach that has the kind of experience needed to do well. And they did well against Japan, limiting Japan to very few if any real scoring chances while having more shots on Japan's goal than vice versa. Their victory was deserved but Japan is still arguably the best side in Asia and, the same way they were able to bounce back from losing at home to the UAE 4 years ago at the start of their 208 WCQ campaign , they can still turn things around this time as well. But being able to do and actually doing it are two different things and the points they lost against Oman might end up hurting them more this time.
Saudi Arabia v Vietnam: You can't say the Saudis were necessarily fortunate to defeat Vietnam at home, since they had almost all the chances and most of the possession in their match. Nonetheless, they were tailing Vietnam and ended up winning with this comfortable score in part courtesy of two penalties and a red card that reduced Vietnam to 10 players. Still, the Saudi's (led by Morocco's former coach) are clearly one of the top contenders in this group.
Australia v China: A comfortable and clear win by Australia against a China team that is clearly not yet ready to make its mark in Asian football generally and in this group in particular. Australia, on the other hand, look to be in good shape even though China was not (in my book at least) one of the teams that were likely to challenge them. For that, we still need to wait and see how Australia do against Japan, Saudi Arabia and, to some extent, Oman.
Vietnam 0 Australia 1
Possession dominated by Australia but not many clear cut chances created until Ryan Grant scored in the 42nd minute. Vietnam has pretty good defence. They seem well organised and haven't given Australia a lot of space in the box. Not sure how good their midfield is so far. Basically they just defend but have been very quick on the counter a couple of times and could easily have taken the lead from one of these counters. In any case, they look better than China did.
Vietnam 0 Australia 1
Happy with the 3 points. Vietnam fought well in the second half and even though possession was again dominated by Australia the best chances of the second half probably fell to Vietnam.
Only watched the Australia Vietnam game but will post the other results for completeness
Vietnam 0 Australia 1
China 0 Japan 1
Oman 0 Saudi Arabia 1
Short table after 2 matches
Saudi Arabia 6
Early days yet. Only observations from me are that China needs to improve significantly from their first game to have some sort of impact on the group and Vietnam has enough ability to make qualification hard for someone else but I don't think they are strong enough to make the top 3.
I agree with you about China (who were lucky to lose by only 1 goal to Japan and seem the weakest team across both groups) and Vietnam (out-shot Australia and deserved a point from the game). Basically, I see Vietnam potentially the spoilers in the group -- the side which may end up playing a role in deciding who ends up qualifying without being able to qualify themselves. China, on the other hand, are simply out of their depth. For my money, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Oman (not necessarily in this order) are going to take the top spots in this group and the two teams to qualify directly and the 3rd place playoff team will be chosen from them (Oman, incidentally, deserved at least a point from its game against the Saudis, missing two excellent chances to equalize. Overall 6 points after 2 games flatters the Saudis and maybe Australia too).
KSA's journey has been smooth so far after early hiccups in the 1st round but was expected with new coach.
The only draw back is they have not been tested so far & playing too many home games have given them a comfortable environment. The fixtures list is also most suitable for them with upcoming 2 home games against Japan and China. Winning the both will surely set them pace for the first or second place finish as they will open 6 points gap with Japan before facing Australia.
Overall, I see the group scene to be decided early before atleast last 2 rounds of matches with a heavy feeling Oman might cause upsets to the big teams and shake the group.
My early prediction is KSA to finish first but on level points with the second.
Another round of matches with Australia playing their home game against Oman in Doha, Saudi Arabia hosting japan and China hosting Vietnam. I don't really do predictions well but will point out some important points from each game
Australia v Oman
Australia started with 2 wins against two of the lower ranked teams. Oman started with an away win against the highest ranked team and a home loss against another of the favoured teams. If the match was in Sydney Australia would be a firm favourite but playing in Doha may even things up a bit. Oman would probably be happy with a point from this game as its counts as an away point against Australia and they don't come up too often in WCQ. They also have an on paper easier home game to follow up so would probably take 4 points from the two games in advance if they could. Australia's second game is a tough one away to Japan who after losing their first home game will be determined not to drop any points againt Australia, who haven't beaten Japan since 2009. It's a slippery two games for Australia and they could easily go from leading the group to 4th.
Saudi Arabia v Japan
Japan sit on 3 points, Saudi Arabia on 6. Saudi Arabia will be keen for a win here that would set them well on the path for qualification. Japan will be keen to erase the disappointment of a loss in their first game. Saudi Arabia's second game is home to China and unless China have found something in the last month should be an easier game for the Saudis. Japan get the 2nd and 3rd seeded teams in the group on the one window so its a hard window for them. 4 or 6 points will erase the first game loss and put them back on the path.
China v Vietnam
China were off the pace in the first window and even though Vietnam also lost both games made the teams that beat them work hard. Its early in the group but I think anything less than a win for either team would make it very tough for them to even get the playoff spot. A draw will probably mean both teams won't qualify, and will only act in a spoiling role for the rest of the group.
Saudi Arabia 1 Japan 0
China 3 Vietnam 2
Didn't watch either game but results interesting. Japan now has some work to do and Saudi Arabia will be very happy with 3 wins from 3
Australia 1 Oman 1
A pretty entertaining game so far. Lots of attacking play and chances with neither side adopting a defensive stance. Australia had the better of the opening exchanges and Oman the latter part of the half, but you couldn't say either side dominated at any stage. Hope the second half is as good.
Australia 3 Oman 1
An early second half goal and a another late one gave us the win. I think the 3-1 scoreline is a bit unkind to Oman but football is like that sometimes. Not quite as entertaining as the first half. I think the early goal made Australia play a bit more measured and it took some of the speed out of the game as Australia aimed at maintaining possession more than creating chances.
11th win in a row for Australia but I doubt the current Australian record of 14 wins will be achieved with a couple of tough games coming up next.
Australia 9 (+6)
Saudi Arabia 9 (+4)
Japan 3 (-1)
Oman 3 (-2)
China 3 (-3)
Vietnam 0 (-4)
A big gap between 2nd and 3rd at the moment.
Preview of next matchday
Japan v Australia
Saudi Arabia v China
Oman v Vietnam
Currently there is a large gap (6 points) between 2nd and 3rd which should close up if games go as expected and Japan defeats Australia, Saudi Arabia defeat China and Oman defeats Vietnam. Wins by Australia and Vietnam will leave a 9 point gap between 2nd and 3rd in what was expected to be a pretty tight group.
Australia travel to Japan seeking their first win against Japan since 2009 and also their 12th consecutive world cup qualifying win. As much as I hope we will win I think a draw is the best we can get for this and I will settle for that. Japan is favoured.
I was surprised that China defeated Vietnam based on each teams performance against us and will be even more surprised if they get something out of this game. A win to Saudi Arabia puts them in the box seat for qualifying and I expect them to get the 3 points.
Oman really need to win this game If they are to have a realistic hope of qualifying. If they can't win this game then I think they will go down as another talented west Asian team that falls short of making it to the world cup. I think they should get the job done here.
KSA NT have been considerably lucky to get as many home games in the first round of qualification which is putting them in drivers seat for qualification. I am feeling this will be for the first time after 2002 WC qualification the team will seal there place with 1-2 games left to play. There next match against China will be crucial and an important one. My prediction KSA might go on for a easy win.
What? KSA opened the the 2002 WCQ with a 2:0 loss to Iran, drew Iran 2:2 at home, trailed Iran in the table until the last group matches, and only qualified because Iran unexpectedly lost to already eliminated Bahrain 3:1 (while KSA thrashed Thailand).
My bad it was 2006 actually..
Yes. KSA was grouped with S. Korea and some other teams it defeated easily and qualified rather comfortably for WC2006, even if the Korean team that the Saudis beat comfortably in the qualifiers ended up having a better World Cup than Saudi Arabia.
Those Iranian fans old enough, incidentally, remember that infamous day we lost 3:1 to Bahrain in Manama for the 2002 WCQ like it was yesterday. That match, after Bahrain scored on a header off a corner kick in the 9th minute, turned into a total farce. Bahrain would simply fall on the floor every two minutes, frustrating our players (2 of whom ended up getting ejected), with the commentator saying: until now, I thought you played football with your feet on the ground, but Bahrain have shown you can play this game with your back on the floor too"! After the final whistle, the Bahrain team, which had already been eliminated, started running around the field with Saudi flags, adding insult to injury!
This group is filled with a lot of excitement compared to the other. Oman will probably beat China and Vietnam in the next two matches and this means that 4 teams are going to fight for the direct qualification while in the other group 4 teams haven't even won a single match lol