Wednesday 4 October 2017

AFC World Cup Qualifying: 5th Round - always a struggle?

"All six of Asia's home-and-away play-off legs across the past three World Cups have ended in draws."

 2005: Uzbekistan v Bahrain: 1-1 (a)
  • Bahrain advanced but eventually lost to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1

2009: Bahrain v Saudi Arabia: 2-2 (a) 
  • Bahrain advanced on away goals again and then lost to New Zealand 0-1

2013: Jordan v Uzbekistan: 2-2 (9-8)
  • With home and away legs both locked at 1-1, Jordan won a penalty shootout.
  • Jordan then lost 5-0 to Uruguay in Amman and the aggregate score stayed that way.

Holy smokes! Looks like this fixture is always a struggle. Will it be different this time because Australia are a team that just missed out on second place?

In 2001, Iran won comfortably against UAE: 4-0 on aggregate. Iran had finished the group on 15 points while UAE was on 11.

That said, third-placed teams were not too far off the rest of their respective packs for the 2010 and 2014 WCQ campaigns.

For the 2010 campaign, Saudi Arabia was on 12 while Bahrain was on 10 - vs North Korea's 12 and Japan's 15 respectively.

For the 2014 campaign, Uzbekistan was on 14; Jordan was on 10 - vs South Korea's 14 and Australia's 13 respectively.

Regardless, given Syria's home record, I think the away leg will be a grind.

Andre Lim

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