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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.