Asian 2022 qualifiers reach crucial stage with Japan’s campaign precariously balanced

November 10 – Asian Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 return tomorrow with six crucial matches and a potentially World Cup qualification defining top of the table clash between Australia and Saudi Arabia.

AFC qualification is divided into two groups of six with the top two in each group qualifying automatically for Qatar 2022 and the third placed teams playing off for a shot at the inter-continental play off slot.

In Group B Saudi Arabia are unbeaten after four matches, three points ahead of Australia who they visit next. It is the first time Australia have hosted a home international fixture in two years.

Herve Renard’s Saudi Arabia have won all nine of their games in 2021 and reinforced their form with a home win over Japan and China on the last two match days.

It is the kind of form that matches the country’s ambition to be a regional and world leader in football. Saudi Arabia is bidding to host the Asian Cup in 2027.

Australia were on a record-breaking 11 FIFA World Cup qualifying victories in a row streak that was only broken last round with a narrow 2-1 loss to Japan.

It was a Japanese win that looks to have saved the Asian football powerhouse’s qualification campaign. Japan have qualified for each of the last six World Cups, starting with France 98.

They currently sit in equal third with Oman on the same goal difference and three points off Australia, however with a goal difference that is five behind the Aussies.

Japan face Vietnam next and then Oman who beat them in the first round of qualifying fixtures. The current window could be make or break for their campaign.

Iran and South Korea dominate

In Group A, traditional Asian powerhouses Iran and South Korea Republic are dominating. Both teams are unbeaten, with leaders Iran starting their campaign with three consecutive wins before drawing with the Koreans last time out.

Two points behind, the Taeguk Warriors have won two and drawn two.

Two wins for both teams would pretty much cement their places at the Qatar 2022 finals. However South Korea do have a potentially tricky home match against the UAE whose best players may be aging but can still turn on the style if fit.

Iran have to face the surprise team of the group Lebanon who beat Syria 3-2 in the last round.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1638371906labto1638371906ofdlr1638371906owedi1638371906sni@n1638371906osloh1638371906cin.l1638371906uap1638371906

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