AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar: 5 things to look out for on Matchday Four
Kuala Lumpur: After a drama-filled round of AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar fixtures last Thursday, the 12 teams are set to return for another set of crucial games as the race to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup heats up.
Four of the biggest sides in Asian football face off in a pair of mouthwatering clashes that could have significant bearings on Groups A and B, while there is no shortage of other talking points ahead of the Matchday Four ties. The-AFC.com has selected five things to look out for.
Preview: Dutch duo clash as UAE host Iraq in AFC Asian Qualifiers must-win
Dubai: Two Dutch coaching luminaries will meet when United Arab Emirates and Iraq meet in Tuesday's crucial AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Matchday Four clash.
With group pacesetters Islamic Republic of Iran and Korea Republic to cross paths in Tehran, also Tuesday, the opportunity is there for either UAE or Iraq to get their respective Final Round campaigns on track after slow starts.
Preview: Korea Republic chase history in blockbuster against IR Iran
Tehran: Korea Republic have never won in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but Paulo Bento’s side will see Tuesday’s top-of-the-table AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar clash as the perfect time to put that record right.
Seven times the Korea Republic men’s national team have ventured to Tehran, and a pair of draws – in 1977 and 2009 – are the best it has ever got for a team which has historically been one of Asia’s giants.
Preview: Japan's Moriyasu remains confident despite tough Australia test
Saitama: Hajime Moriyasu remains confident Japan can secure a place at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as the Samurai Blue prepare to take on Group B leaders Australia on Tuesday with only one victory from the opening three games under their belt in the AFC Asian Qualifiers.
The six-time FIFA World Cup qualifiers lost 1-0 to Saudi Arabia on Thursday to sit six points behind Graham Arnold’s side ahead the meeting at Saitama Stadium, but the former Sanfrecce Hiroshima boss is refusing to panic ahead of the must-win game.
Preview: Oman look to close gap, Vietnam hold on to last chance
Muscat: Oman will look to stay within touching distance of the qualifying places to the 2022 FIFA World Cup while Vietnam will be targeting their first win at this stage of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar when the two sides face off on Matchday Four of Group A on Tuesday.
Both sides lost on the road last time out, Oman being comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Australia in the latter’s adopted home of Doha, while Vietnam suffered late heartbreak in a 3-2 defeat by China PR in the UAE.
Preview: Saudi Arabia eye fourth successive victory, China PR seek to maintain momentum
Jeddah: Saudi Arabia will be aiming to extend their winning start to the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar to four matches on Tuesday as they host a China PR side hopeful of avoiding further slips in Group B.
The Green Falcons are neck and neck with Australia at the summit of the group, with both sides having collected the full nine points contested so far.
Meanwhile China arrive to the West Coast of the continent having picked up their first three points in a 3-2 win over Vietnam. The victory on Thursday leaves coach Li Tie’s men fifth in the group, level on points with Japan and Oman, but behind them on goal difference.
Preview: No choice but to win as Syria and Lebanon lock horns
Amman: Levantine neighbours Syria and Lebanon know a first win of the campaign is a must if they are to catch up with the leading pair in Group A when they face each other at the King Abdullah II Stadium on Matchday Four of the AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road to Qatar on Tuesday.
Lebanon hold a narrow advantage, having collected a point more than Syria, but both sides could find themselves well adrift of the direct qualification spots to Qatar 2022 in this early stage of the campaign should they fail to start winning.