Monday, June 17, 2013

Waning Seconds: ASIA UPDATE!

A few weeks ago we ran down how every Asian team still had a chance to qualify for the world cup.

Yeah...that's not so much the case any more.

So here now is a run down on how it can play out tomorrow as three more tickets are punched for Brazil and one serious squabble is set for September.

First Match's adorable
Australia plays Iraq in Sydney in the first game of the day. The Iraqis must be disappointed not to parlay recent AFC success into a World Cup bid, but they could always settle for ruining the Socceroos day.

A win for Australia sees them straight to Brazil, anything less and they have to stay up late to see what happens between Oman and Jordan

Group A Simulcast
The most thrilling part of qualification is playing right in the midst of another match that could just as easily determine your destiny. That's the situation for South Korea, Iran and Uzebekistan (Qatar too...but they were left in the dust on the last match day so a four way battle is out of the question).

South Korea's goal is simplest. Get a point at home against Iran and you're going down South America way. Having won all their home tilts so far this campaign it seems likely.

Jon Snow is rooting for Uzbekistan
If South Korea does win, Uzbekistan can make history by winning their own match and vaulting the White Wolves into their first ever World Cup. But if they draw or lose, they'll have to face the third place finisher in Group B for the chance to face the fifth place team in South America for a spot in Brazil.

And, then again, Iran can screw everything up (after all, it is Iran). A win and they're in. A Uzbekistan draw or loss, and they're in. But if Iran wins mightily (like they did against Lebanon) and Uzbekistan wins mightily, then South Korea crashes down to third place. OR, if Iran draws and Uzbekistan wins mightily, then they Ayatollah's favored 11 have to do the 5th-place-playoff.

And just in case entry to the most prestigious tournament on the planet isn't enough drama for you, now the Koreans and Iranians are jawing at each other about "poor treatment" "humiliation" and subtle hints at match fixing...I'm guessing that match will have a little extra juice to it.

Final Match
The real thrill of the day comes at the end of the day in Amman, Jordan, but it depends largely on what happens in Australia six-and-a-half hours earlier.

When even a little soccer blog
takes potshots at should
be sad
The visiting Red Warriors of Oman could easily settle for a draw to solidify their spot in third place/the fifth place playoff (a new record for their nation), especially if Australia wins in which case they couldn't do better than third anyway. But if the Socceroos fall, the door opens for Oman and a victory would set an even better new record: World Cup qualification. (An Australia draw plus a seven goal victory of Jordan would also see them through...but come on, there's a better chance of Keanu Reeves winning a Tony award than there is of that happening.)

The home team will be desperate for a win, as they need all three points just to move in to third (an Australia loss plus a highly unlikely 8 goal swing in goal differential is the only way they've got to get in directly).

So there it is, six teams are set to battle for three sure thing spots and two awkward third-place will-they-or-won't-they playoffs.

No comments: