Thursday 31 August 2017

Japan too good

We didn't deserve to win, well played Japan.

Andre Lim

Here we go!!!

Tip: Japan 1-1 Australia

No Juric, no Cahill. Big call from Ange.

Andre Lim

Wednesday 30 August 2017

All we need now is..

..a win in Japan*..or to stick to the original plan of 4 points over 2 matches.

UAE did us a huge favour but we need to focus on the task at hand.

Whoever wins in Japan now qualifies automatically, so there is a big incentive for both teams to chase for the win.

On another note, we mustn't let Japan win because it's less likely they will put up a good fight against Saudi Arabia in their final match at 3.30am, 6 September 2017 if that happens. They will be sitting pretty on 20 points, already qualified. We will be punished twice for losing, essentially - possibly gifting Saudi Arabia the win.

Also, UAE need to rely on Japan beating Saudi Arabia and/or Thailand beating us AND an 8+-0 scoreline against Iraq. Given that Thailand is the bottom ranked side, they won't fancy Thailand's chances of doing them a favour so they will be hoping Japan have something to play for in the last match. So UAE will want us to get a draw or better tomorrow night so that Japan have a real incentive to beat Saudi Arabia.

*That's because Saudi Arabia and Japan play each other in the final match, such that if Australia were to win in Saitama, there is no way both teams can overtake Australia's tally of 19.

Andre Lim

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Critical WCQ matches

The next few days will determine a lot of fates for the 2018 World Cup.

UAE v Saudi Arabia, 2.30am Wednesday 30 August 2017
Anything less than a win for both of these sides has serious ramifications for both teams as well as Japan and Australia. A Saudi win would create intense pressure for both the Blue Samurai and the Aussies, while a draw or worse will ease the nerves.

Remember: Japan sits on 17, Saudi on 16 and Australia on 16. Australia have the inferior goal difference.

Japan v Socceroos, 8.35pm Thursday 31 August 2017  - Although it does depend on the above match, any loss would likely set both teams back tremendously.

China v Uzbekistan, 10pm Thursday 31 August 2017
South Korea v Iran, 10 pm Thursday 31 August 2017

3rd-placed Uzbekistan sit 1 point behind their South Korean rivals and need to win in Wuhan; and rely on Iran playing seriously against South Korea.

France v Netherlands, 4.45am Friday 1 September 2017
Netherlands have lost their groove, sitting 3rd in a somewhat tough but close group. Sweden and France sit on 13 points. NED on 10. A win in Saint-Denis could change the complexion of the group and spur on Dutch momentum.

Venezuela v Colombia, 7am Friday 1 September 2017
Chile v Paraguay, 8.30am Friday 1 September 2017
Uruguay v Argentina, 9am Friday 1 September 2017
Brazil v Ecuador, 10.45am Friday 1 September 2017
Peru v Bolivia, 12.15pm Friday 1 September 2017

We all know CONMEBOL (South American) and CAF (African) qualifying is intensely difficult. The latter has no or little room for error, whereas the former is just an overall tough competition.

Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay are in the running for a top 4 spot after Brazil have sealed qualification. Peru and Paraguay sit at the bottom (excluding Venezuela and Bolivia, who are already eliminated) on 18 points each, whereas Colombia sits on 24 and Uruguay and Chile are tied on 23. There clearly isn't much room between all.

One wonders if Ecuador can catch a break against a possibly relaxed Brazil (although they may want to maintain their top 8 position for the purposes of seeding). Peru and Colombia have "must win" or "should win" games. The others face tough rival battles. Anything coild happen.

A win for Peru is not enough to catch Argentina who currently 5th and on 22 points, but if Argentina lose and Ecuador win, Ecuador can move into 5th.

NZ v Solomon Islands, 5.35pm Friday 1 September 2017
Solomon Islands v NZ, 1pm Tuesday 5 September 2017

This is the final home and away round of OFC (Oceania) qualifying. Solomon Islands are hoping they can earn the right to play the 5th placed  South American side. NZ are always giants in this region and it will not be easy.

USA v Costa Rica, 9am Saturday 2 September
Mexico v Panama, 10.30am Saturday 2 September
All matches in the CONCACAF hex are important, but the top 4 are doing battle here with each other. 4th placed Panama sit on 7 points and need to make up on lost ground to catch the Americans who are on 8 points. They will also be hoping for a positive result against top placed Mexico and a favour from the Costa Ricans.

Nigeria v Cameroon, 2am Saturday 2 September 2017 
Cameroon v Nigeria, 3am Tuesday 5 September 2017 

This crazy Group B double header (winner takes all in CAF World Cup qualifying!) sees the Super Eagles face the champions of Africa home and away. It is crazy. Bear in mind that arguably Africa's strongest team at the 2014 World Cup Algeria and previous AFCON champs Zambia constitute the remainder of the group. Although Nigeria are leading on 6 points, with a comfortable buffer of 4 points over 2nd placed Cameroon, 2 Cameroonian wins in a row will propel the Indomitable Lions to the top of the group. 2 or 4 points for the Nigerians would arguably be enough and huge, respectively.

Spain v Italy, 4.45am Sunday 3 September 2017
The Azzuri travel to Madrid, level on points with their Group G rivals Spain. Spain tops the group based on goal difference. The two teams drew 1-1 in the reverse leg at the Juventus Stadium in Turin in October last year so it will be interesting to see if the usually conservative Italians risk going for something more than a draw to overcome their deficit.

Australia v Thailand, 8pm Tuesday 5 September 2017 
Saudi Arabia v Japan 3.30am Wednesday 6 September 2017
This goes without saying...but the Saudis will want to finish strong at home. Almost any Saudi win at home (regardless of most other results, subject to goal difference) will guarantee their qualification. Australia need to focus on their own game and take all 3 points and possibly score lots of goals while keeping a clean sheet, unless they have already qualified by now which is possible with a win in Japan and the Saudis do not win.

Uzbekistan v South Korea, 1am Wednesday 6 September 2017
This is incredibly crazy, but if Uzbekistan dispatches China, they will be in the running for qualification. They probably need to beat South Korea at home, and should they do so, they will erase all memories of bitterness from the last qualification campaign.

Andre Lim

Friday 18 August 2017

Steady does it

"Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried."

-- Henry David Thoreau

Andre Lim

Friday 11 August 2017

List of (mostly) everything that has influenced me

Pretty sure I have done one of these lists before but I thought I would do it again.

This is a list of mostly everything that has made me who I am.

Highlighted things are probably those that stick out for me, for one reason or the other.

It's a work in progress..

Childhood and Growing up

Spice Girls - Posh Spice
Back Street Boys - I Want It That Way
Avril Lavigne - Complicated
Katy Perry - Hot N Cold (Year 12/Pre-Uni)
Video game music - a video game cannot be good without good music and atmospheres
Orchestral or piano variations of known themes
Kyle and Jackie-O - Hot 30 Countdown (Radio)
Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows ft. Vanessa Carlton
101.7 wsfm
Mix 106.5 (as it was known then)

京酱肉丝 (Jing Jiang Rou Si) - shredded pork
水煮牛肉 (Shui Zhu Niu Rou) - spicy oily Sichuan boiled beef
Chips (Packet Crisps - 60cent Chicken flavour Thins Chips) and Hot Chips
Fried potato pancakes? Sort of like 土豆丝 (Tu Dou Si)
This Chinese orange flavoured iceblock with the cap made of orange ice but the rest orange ice cream

Nong Shim Shin Ramyun cup noodles
Maggi Mee Noodles
Curry Twisties
Roti Canai
Lao Shu Fen 老鼠粉 - silver needle noodles

Kampar Fishballs
Tandoori Chicken
Steak with Gravy
A&W Curly Fries and Root Beer

Meat Pie
Chicken tenders

Siu Mai

Shaolin Soccer
Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (Horrible production but Chloe and I could not stop laughing)

TV Shows
Art Attack
(Bear in the Big Blue House goodbye song and the Barney I love you song)
(Sabrina the animated series Disney theme song)
Bananas in Pyjamas

Cartoon Network (Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog, I am Weasel, Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Cow and Chicken)
Disney Channel (Filmore, Recess, Kim Possible)
Nickelodeon - Rugrats
Rocko's Modern Life
Malcolm in the Middle

Harry Potter - haven't finished book 7
Deltora Quest - Emily Rodda ("Live no Evil" <--> "Live on evil")
Keys to the Kingdom - haven't finished book 7
Sherlock Holmes - haven't finished
The Hardy Boys
Give Yourself Goosebumps

Influential and/or Favourite Video Games
Jump Start educational games: particularly remember 4th grade

"101 only the best games" - Jazz Jackrabbit, Hocus Pocus, The Incredible Toon Machine, and this other aircraft game that my mother always played

Duke Nukem (Probably my first game - mum showed me)
Doom (Watched mum play!!)
Diablo II

Final Fantasy VIII, IX, X and XII (particularly the music)
Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time (previously Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?)
Crash Bandicoot 1, 2 and 3
Crash Team Racing
Crash Bash
Ape Escape
(Kingdom Hearts..kinda)

Street Fighter Alpha 3
(Dad taking me to the video arcade to watch people play Street Fighter)

Starcraft (Starcraft Terran music was incredibly catchy) - very balanced game

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - thanks to Hari, who asked me to play it in Year 7 or so, but I only played it after my final Year 12 exam.

Super Punch-Out!! on Malaysia Airlines

Card Games
Big 2

Chloe born
Getting lost in the supermarket
Thinking Sprite was spicy
Arrived in Chengdu China 1996
Trip to Disneyland
Leaving China - March 2001
US Bombing of Chinese Embassy in Belgrade - May 7, 1999 (protests outside compound)
September 11, 2001
Socceroos v Uruguay 2005
FIFA World Cup 2006

Maps and countries
Compassion/sadness for the poor
Badminton - training conditions in China - kids playing to earn a living
International School
Advertisements on TV
Changing or mishearing lyrics to songs for fun (Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake)
Chinese New Year in Malaysia and Singapore, visiting relatives

Calmness and hardworking nature of dad
Strength, street-smartness and directness of mum
Trying to make Chloe laugh
International school friends - Koreans, Americans, Canadians, Europeans
Thinking outside the box of Hari Raja
Genius of Kevin Ngo and Jason Wong

Current/not too long ago

Favourite Video Games
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising - Andy's Theme
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham City
Uncharted 2
Valkyria Chronicles
(Dragon Age, though a bit too demonic and sexual for me)
(Terraria for a short while)

Video Game Music
Charles William - We Are The Ones (Own The World)
The Sam Willows - Take Heart (I associate this with our Cambodia/Vietnam trip in Christmas 2015)
Robin Schulz feat. Ilsey - Headlights
Peking Duk ft. Elliphant - Stranger
Imagine Dragons - On Top of the World
Of Monsters and Men - King and Lionheart
Charlie Puth - One Call Away

- None really-
Where's Wally?

Notable Board Games
Settlers of Catan
The Resistance: Avalon
Dice Town
Chicago Express
Mord Im Arosa
Shadows Over Camelot
Bang! The Bullet version

Notable Card Games

2011-2013 - rough years and too much reading from uni
2014 - Tippy

Coffee gelato
Siu Mai
KFC Hot and Spicy
KFC Hot Rods
Smoked Salmon
Indian curries - lamb or mutton curry
Bento boxes (variety)
(Curry Twisties)
A good chilli sauce

Movies/DVDs/Series/ TV Shows
Batman: Animated Series
Mr Bean
(Star Trek .. sorta)
Hercule Poirot (David Suchet)
Dead Man Walking
Crimson Tide
Bud Greenspan docos
Some types of documentaries
World Cup DVDs
Jeopardy (for a while)
(Wild Thornberries)

Other interests
Batman - supervillains and rogues' gallery
(Why I like collecting jersies)
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Conspiracies (sorta - as long as not too crazy)
General Knowledge
Lee Chong Wei v Lin Dan
International football rivalries
Team sport rivalries, particularly international rivalries
Where's Wally?
Learning Mandarin -- very very slowly...

Traits I value

Andre Lim

Thursday 3 August 2017

2018 World Cup Qualifiers - AFC Asia Group B

Things are heating up in Group B of the Asian Qualifiers.


On 30 August 2017 at 2.30AM AEST, UAE entertain Saudi Arabia at home.

On 31 August 2017 at about 8.35pm, the Socceroos travel to Saitama for a must-not-lose clash against Japan.

On 5 September 2017, Australia play Thailand in Melbourne; at 3.30AM AEST the following day the Saudis host Japan in Jeddah.

Anything could happen.

I explore the various scenarios below.

Scenario 1: Australia receives no favours - Saudi Arabia beat UAE comfortably, say by 2-0

We can discount UAE now because they need to win against Saudi Arabia to have any chance at all.

Scenario 1a: If Australia win in Japan

It is very unlikely that Australia can scrap a win in Japan (History does not agree with this prediction).

If they do however, then in the above scenario all the Socceroos will need is a draw against Thailand to finish on 20 points (16 + 3 + 1).

Japan and the Saudis will be stuck on 17 and 19 respectively.

Regardless of who wins or draws in that final encounter in Jeddah, Australia is safe as houses on 20 as both teams cannot surpass or equal 20 points simultaneously.

Scenario 1b: If Australia draw in Japan

This is quite possible.

In this scenario, Australia need to beat Thailand by any margin to reach 20 and progress.

Regardless of the result in Jeddah, Australia on 20 will go through as both teams cannot surpass or equal 20 points simultaneously.

Scenario 1c: If Australia lose to Japan (!!), say by 0-1

This is a nightmare scenario, but is also quite possible.

If this happens, Japan shoots up to 20, and the Saudis are on 19 with a superior goal difference to Australia's.

If Japan and Saudi Arabia collude for a draw, both will go through on 21 and 20 respectively at the expense of Australia stuck on 16 as Australia can only reach 19 at best. It could be the Disgrace of Gijon all over again.

For Australia to go through in scenario 1c, Japan need to beat Saudi Arabia, and Australia needs to win by 3 goals (or more if the Saudis thrash UAE). This could have some of us watching the Japan-Saudi Arabia match at 3.30am, but I sincerely hope the situation does not go this far south...

Scenario 2: Saudi Arabia slip up to UAE in a draw or loss

If this happens, Australia can automatically qualify for the World Cup if they beat Japan! A tally of 19 is not surmountable or capable of being equalled by both Japan and Saudi Arabia, given that they play each other in the final match.

If Australia draw to Japan, a variation of Scenario 1b plays out again (Japan -18, Saudi Arabia - 17, Australia - 17) and any win against Thailand will do.

Scenario 2b

If the Saudis lose to UAE and Australia draws with Japan, then a draw against Thailand will only work if Saudi Arabia get nothing more than a draw from Japan.

Of course, this is risky and drawing to Thailand again should be avoided at all costs.

The table after 10 matches would look something like this if the Saudis lose then draw to Japan and Australia draw to Thailand and Japan (quite unlikely but never say never):

Japan                +9   19
Australia          +6    18
Saudi Arabia    +6   17

If the Saudis lose to UAE and Japan wins, Japan qualify. Australia is in a difficult position then because Japan have nothing to play for in their last match against Saudi Arabia. I will talk about this scenario another time if it does get to that, but hopefully I won't need to.

My hope

My hope is that Japan and South Korea both finish 3rd in their respective groups and play each other in the play-offs, but that is a very unlikely scenario. This would require Uzbekistan to break their duck against the South Koreans after unluckily missing out to the same in the 2014 qualifiers on goal difference!

Uzbekistan would probably also require Iran (who have already qualified) to take the match against South Korea on 31 August seriously. Kind of unfair really since the Iranians will probably field at least a semi-experimental lineup.

The last important match between these two Asian juggernauts was in the semi-final of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

I think this heavyweight rivalry needs to be given a a real stir.

How could one forget the Agony (Tragedy) of Doha (or the Miracle of Doha if you are South Korean) in 1993, and the following Joy of Johor Bahru in 1997?

Ask a Japanese or a South Korean who lived during those days!

What will probably happen

Scenario 1b or 1c. It's almost a coin flip.

Andre Lim