Kuala Lumpur: With the next two rounds of Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on the horizon, the upcoming matchdays will go a long way in determining the fate of the teams.
With only the eight group winners and four best runners-up advancing to the final round of Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, there will be no room for slip-ups.
The same applies for the final stage of the Asian Qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, with the 12 next best-placed teams advancing to the third round. Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at how the eight groups stand.
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Syria will head into Matchday Five sitting pretty at the top of Group A with a record of three wins from three and with a great chance of widening their lead should they beat China PR on Thursday.
That would stretch Syria's lead to five points, after Marcello Lippi's China suffered a blow when a gritty Philippines held them 0-0 on Matchday Four.
Failure to win against Syria could prove costly to China's hopes of advancing to the third round of the Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The Philippines, meanwhile, will be aiming for three points against Maldives in what appears to be a tie between two teams aiming for third place in Group A.
Maldives vs Philippines
Syria vs China PR
Maldives vs Guam
Syria vs Philippines
Graham Arnold's Australia sailed through their opening three matches but will face their toughest test yet when they take on Jordan in Amman on Thursday.
Jordan have proven to be a bogey team for the Socceroos in recent meetings and will be aiming to continue that run.
Vital Borkelman's side drew with Kuwait on Matchday Three, meaning they go into the tie two points behind Australia.
Kuwait will host Chinese Taipei, without a win or a point after three matches, determined to secure the victory they need to stay in sight of Australia and Jordan.
Jordan vs Australia
Kuwait vs Chinese Taipei
Nepal vs Kuwait
Jordan vs Chinese Taipei
After four matchdays, no team has a perfect record in Group D, setting the stage for two crucial Matchdays for three sides - Iraq, Bahrain and Islamic Republic of Iran.
Bahrain's defeat of Iran on Matchday Four threw the group wide open and they will be hoping to build on that when they face winless Hong Kong away on Saturday.
With Iraq playing Iran, Bahrain have a good chance of ending Matchday Five as group leaders.
Iraq, however, will be equally determined to defend their position as group leaders while Iran, seeking a third consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup Finals, need a win after their setback against Bahrain.
Iraq vs IR Iran
Hong Kong vs Bahrain
Iraq vs Bahrain
Hong Kong vs Cambodia
Another tantasilingly poised group will all five teams still in with a chance.
Uzbekistan bounced back from their opening match defeat to record two wins to lead the standings, albeit by just a point, with Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Singapore chasing.
Uzbekistan's credentials will be tested on Thursday, with Saudi Arabia visiting while Yemen, chasing their first win but with two commendable draws to their name, will aim for full points against Palestine.
Uzbekistan vs Saudi Arabia
Yemen vs Palestine
Uzbekistan vs Palestine
Yemen vs Singapore
With leaders Qatar having an off day, the other four Group E teams will be aiming to narrow the gap on Thursday, with Afghanistan playing India and Oman hosting Bangladesh.
India desperately need a win after two draws and a defeat in their first three matches while Afghanistan have one victory against two losses.
Oman, in second but four points behind Qatar, will target a win but Bangladesh will not be easy to overcome, especially after their fighting performance saw them hold India to a 1-1 draw on Matchday Four.
Afghanistan vs India
Oman vs Bangladesh
Afghanistan vs Qatar
Oman vs India
Kyrgyz Republic's resurgence after their opening day defeat to Tajikistan will be tested when they host group leaders Japan in Bishkek on Thursday.
Japan have been at their customary best, with three wins from as many matches, but Kyrgyz Republic will be up for the challenge at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium.
Tajikistan's perfect start, meanwhile, was ended by Japan on Matchday Four, with the Central Asians suffering a 3-0 defeat at home and they will look to bounce back against a struggling Myanmar.
Myanmar vs Tajikistan
Kyrgyz Republic vs Japan
Myanmar vs Mongolia
Kyrgyz Republic vs Tajikistan
Leaders Thailand, buoyed by their win over United Arab Emirates on Matchday Four, face Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur but another victory does not look a foregone conclusion.
Southeast Asian derbies tend to throw the form book out the window and Thailand will know that Malaysia will produce their best, especially with the Harimau Malaya's hopes hanging by a thread after two consecutive defeats.
Victory is what the UAE will also need against Vietnam in Hanoi, with the defeat to Thailand having jolted their hopes in a tough Group G.
Vietnam vs UAE
Malaysia vs Thailand
Vietnam vs Thailand
Malaysia vs Indonesia
The stalemate against DPR Korea in Pyongyang ended Korea Republic's perfect start to the Qualifiers and Paulo Bento's men can expect to be tested again when they play Lebanon in Beirut on Thursday.
A win for the West Asians will take them to nine points and ahead of Korea Republic and this will serve as a massive incentive for Liviu Ciobotariu's team.
DPR Korea, meanwhile, can also expect to be tested by Turkmenistan in Ashgabat, with the Central Asians needing a win to revive their hopes.
Lebanon vs Korea Republic
Turkmenistan vs DPR Korea
Turkmenistan vs Sri Lanka
Lebanon vs DPR Korea
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