Road to Qatar 2022 & China 2023: Five Talking Points
Kuala Lumpur: After six rounds of matches, the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 are done and dusted for 2019.
Qualifying action for the two premier competitions will resume on March 26 as the players - depending on where they play their club football - either return to their teams or get some much needed break.
Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at five talking points at this stage of a thrilling Asian Qualifiers.
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No stopping Qatar
Qatar ended the year the way they started it - with a win - as the 1-0 defeat of Afghanistan took them to 11 wins and a draw against Asian opposition in 2019.
It is a world leading run as Qatar added four wins and a draw to the seven triumphs they registered en route to lifting the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 title.
India were the only Asian team to deny Qatar a win, with the South Asian side holding Felix Sanchez's squad to a 0-0 draw on Matchday Two of the Asian Qualifiers.
Unlike Qatar, Syria did not enjoy a dream AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, with the West Asians eliminated in the group stage with one draw and two defeats but Fajr Ebrahim's side have been unstoppable in the Asian Qualifiers.
Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Philippines not only meant five consecutive wins but also an eight-point lead over China PR at the top of Group A.
Should Syria maintain their form, a place in the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers beckons and, possibly, another thrilling campaign which saw them just missing out on the Inter-Confederation Play-off for Russia 2018.
Myanmar the comeback kids
Myanmar headed into last Thursday's Matchday Five with their backs against the wall but two games later, the Southeast Asian side are up and running in Group F as the thrilling 4-3 win over Tajikistan was followed by a 1-0 defeat of Mongolia.
There is still much to do and the late rally may not be enough for Myanmar to seal a place in the third round of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying but Antoine Hey's side will believe the third round of AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying is within reach.
Home comfort for UAE
Having played three of their four matches in Southeast Asia and suffering two defeats, United Arab Emirates will be hoping for home advantage to take them through Group G when the Asian Qualifiers resume.
UAE will host Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand - all of whom are above them in the standings - and will be confident of turning their fortunes around. The West Asians only remaining away match is against bottom-placed Indonesia.
Mixed results for Russia 2018 cast
It has not been smooth sailing in the Asian Qualifiers for some of the Continent's five representatives at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
Islamic Republic of Iran, Asia's top ranked side, have much to do after suffering defeats to Bahrain and Iraq while Korea Republic's bid for a 10th consecutive FIFA World Cup Finals appearances suffered a hiccup after two consecutive draws.
— قادرين 💪🎥— المنتخب السعودي (@SaudiNT) November 14, 2019
Saudi Arabia scored a crucial 3-2 victory over Uzbekistan on Matchday Five but two wins and two draws mean they have work to do in their remaining four games.
Australia and Japan, on the other hand, will head into 2020 with a perfect record of four wins each.
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