Dubai: United Arab Emirates must win or risk falling behind in the race to qualify for the FIFA World Cup when they host Islamic Republic of Iran in what looms as a pivotal AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar clash on Thursday.
Already four points behind Team Melli following back-to-back draws against Lebanon and Syria, Bert van Marwijk’s side will be eager to make the most of the two home games in the next five days, with Iraq to visit Dubai next Tuesday.
Two wins from those matches would take the United Arab Emirates considerably closer to their first FIFA World Cup since their solitary 1990 appearance, but a pair of defeats has the potential to derail their campaign.
Doha: Iraq and Lebanon will be aiming to kickstart their respective AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar campaigns when they lock horns at Khalifa International Stadium on Matchday Three of Group A on Thursday.
The two nations sit equal at the bottom of the group with a point each with only goal difference setting them apart.
Ansan City: Korea Republic will look to make it successive wins in Group A of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar when they face a Syria side welcoming back captain Omar Al Soma at Ansan Wa Stadium on Thursday.
Having played out a goalless draw against Iraq in their opening game in early September, Korea edged Lebanon 1-0 on Matchday Two to leave them second in the Group A standings after two rounds of fixtures.
Syria, meanwhile, recovered from their opening-day defeat against the Islamic Republic of Iran to secure a 1-1 draw away in the United Arab Emirates after Mahmlud Al Baher's equaliser secured their first point of the campaign.
Hwang's confidence sky-high, says Korea Republic's Lee Jae-sung ahead of Syria clash
Ansan City: After a string of excellent performances in the English Premier League, Hwang Hee-chan has returned to Korea Republic full of belief ahead of Thursday's AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar clash with Syria, according to teammate Lee Jae-sung.
Hwang joined Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier in the season and has got off to a flying start, scoring three goals in his first four league appearances including a match-winning brace against Newcastle United on Sunday prior to taking the long flight to Seoul.
Australia seek to stay perfect, Oman chase second big win
Doha: Australia will be looking to extend a record winning streak when they meet Oman in a crucial AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar clash on Thursday.
With an unblemished record of 10 wins from as many matches since their Asian Qualifiers campaign began in September 2019, another three points at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium will take the Socceroos a step closer to an unprecedented fifth successive FIFA World Cup appearance.
Wu Lei aims to power China PR past Vietnam in crucial Group B tie
Sharjah: Wu Lei is confident he can give China PR the boost they need ahead of their AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar clash with Vietnam in Sharjah on Thursday as Li Tie’s side look to kickstart their Group B campaign.
The Chinese lost their opening games against Australia and Japan last month without registering a single shot on goal and go into the meeting with Park Hang-seo’s side having spent the month since their last game in a training camp in the United Arab Emirates.
Pandemic restrictions mean Li Tie’s China-based players have not been able to return home but Espanyol forward Wu hopes he and his teammates can focus on securing a result that will lift the mood of the squad following his arrival from Spain.