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WCQ - Asia Semifinal Round Part II [R]


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Top team in each group advances to FINAL ROUND starting in February

(2 Groups of 4, Top two to WC, top 3 play-off to see who plays 4th CONCACAF team from hex for final WC spot)

Group 1Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Iran 6 5 0 1 22 4 15

Jordan 6 4 0 2 10 6 12

Qatar 6 3 0 3 16 8 9

Laos 6 0 0 6 3 33 0

Group 2Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Uzbekistan 6 5 1 0 16 3 16

Iraq 6 3 2 1 17 7 11

Palestine 6 2 1 3 11 11 7

Chinese Taipei 6 0 0 6 3 26 0

Group 3Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Japan 6 6 0 0 16 1 18

Oman 6 3 1 2 14 3 10

India 6 1 1 4 2 18 4

Singapore 6 1 0 5 3 13 3

Group 4Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Kuwait 6 5 0 1 15 2 15

China PR 6 5 0 1 14 1 15

Hong Kong 6 2 0 4 5 15 6

Malaysia 6 0 0 6 2 18 0

Group 5Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Korea DPR 6 3 2 1 11 5 11

United Arab Emirates 6 3 1 2 6 6 10

Thailand 6 2 1 3 9 10 7

Yemen 6 1 2 3 6 11 5

Group 6Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Bahrain 6 4 2 0 15 4 14

Syria 6 2 2 2 7 7 8

Tajikistan 6 2 1 3 5 9 7

Kyrgyzstan 6 1 1 4 5 12 4

Group 7Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Korea Republic 6 4 2 0 9 2 14

Lebanon 6 3 2 1 11 5 11

Vietnam SR 6 1 1 4 5 9 4

Maldives 6 1 1 4 5 14 4

Group 8Key

Overview | News | Analysis | Matches

Team MP W D L GF GA Pts

Saudi Arabia 6 6 0 0 14 1 18

Turkmenistan 6 2 1 3 8 10 7

Indonesia 6 2 1 3 8 12 7

Sri Lanka 6 0 2 4 4 11 2

China and Korea reel, others advance in Asia

13 October 2004

by FIFAworldcup.com

On the decisive, penultimate, day of 2006 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying in the Asian Zone, China were the biggest losers, falling to Kuwait, while a handful of sides secured their spots in the final preliminary groups.

Korea Republic drew 1-1 in Lebanon to leave the FIFA World Cup semi-finalists in limbo heading into the final round of qualifying on 17 November.


Kuwaiti surprise

Second half substitute Waleed Ali Jumah scored the winner against previous group leaders China in the opening minute of the second half, to put Kuwait back even with China on 12 points. China’s first qualifying defeat leaves them behind on goal difference to the Kuwaitis, who will host the group's bottom-placed team Malaysia, who have lost all five of their previous qualifiers. China will be at home against rivals Hong Kong.

In the first match in China, the Kuwaitis failed to get a single shot on goal, but the hosts proved that they have made significant progress under head coach Mohammed Ibrahim. Their speed and quick counterattacking down the flanks had the Chinese scrambling throughout the first half.

However, it was the Chinese who launched the first dangerous attack after eight minutes. Sun Xiang intercepted the ball from left and found the well-positioned Xu Yunlong in the box. He picked out forward Li Jinyu, but the 2001 C-league top scorer's powerful drive was well saved by Kuwait goalkeeper Shehab Kankone.

Kuwait's Bashar Abdullah often threatened China’s goal with penetrating runs into the box, and on the half an hour mark, when goalkeeper Liu Yunfei failed to get on the end of a cross, the diving forward also just missed a golden chance. Asian Cup runners-up China successfully defended against their lively hosts to reach half-time scoreless, but talismanic striker Hao Haidong had to come off at half-time due to exhaustion in the humid conditions. Almost on cue, Kuwait’s first attack in the second period turned into a goal.

Missing the talisman

Waleed Ali was the goal-scoring hero for Kuwait, but Bashar was crucial as the set-up man. The 27-year-old picked out Jumah after cutting out a Liu Yunfei clearance, and the Kheitan club midfielder made no mistake sending the ball into the net.

In response, China coach Arie Haan sent on left winger Yan Song for Xu Yunlong on the hour mark, and then made his third substitution by sending on Man City fullback Sun Jihai. The visitors besieged Kuwait's goal for an equaliser for most of the second half, but without the experience and last-minute heroics of Hao Haidong, they just couldn't to find the net.

Kuwait, now fully in control of their own destiny, should have scored more as Bashar's two one-on-one efforts were denied by the cross bar and goalkeeper Liu Yunfei respectively.

The fallout

China’s possible elimination is not the only surprise on a dramatic day in the Asian Zone. Korea Republic’s 1-1 draw in Lebanon leaves the proud record of the Taeguk Warriors hanging by a thread. Behind by a point heading into the November matches, Lebanon will need to make up ground against Vietnam.

Joining already qualified Saudi Arabia were the rather surprising quartet of Japan (who claimed the Group 3 crown with a 0-1 win over Oman), Uzbekistan (who ended Iraq’s dreams 1-2 in Group 2), Bahrain and Korea DPR (who took Group 5 after United Arab Emirates’ 3-0 loss to Thailand).

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AFC to watch Chinese qualifier 'carefully'

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong were warned on Friday against fixing the result of next month's key 2006 World Cup qualifier.

China must beat Hong Kong by a wide margin in their last Group Four match on November 17 to have any chance of advancing to next year's final round of Asian qualifiers.

Kuwait beat China 1-0 in midweek to go top on goal difference.

The Gulf side, who are two goals better off than China, are at home to winless Malaysia in their final match and now favourites to claim the one qualification spot.

"Both FIFA and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) will be watching the matches very carefully," AFC general secretary Peter Velappan told Reuters.

"If there is any funny business, they will face the music."

Velappan was responding to media reports in Hong Kong claiming the China Football Association could put pressure on their "little brother" to roll over in their final match.

Former British colony Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 but retains sporting independence.

China made their World Cup finals debut in 2002 but lost all three matches and failed to score a single goal.

However, they have made steady progress under Dutch coach Arie Haan and failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany would be a major blow for Chinese soccer.

The top team from each of the eight second-round groups progresses to the final round of Asian qualifiers. Saudi Arabia, Japan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain and North Korea are already through.

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" Joining already qualified Saudi Arabia were the rather surprising quartet of Japan (who claimed the Group 3 crown with a 0-1 win over Oman), Uzbekistan (who ended Iraq’s dreams 1-2 in Group 2), Bahrain and Korea DPR (who took Group 5 after United Arab Emirates’ 3-0 loss to Thailand)"

What on earth would be surprising about Japan stomping others at this early stage of qualifying? As the home of my fiancee they are my second country to follow, and anybody else following them would know that they are a force in Asia, even with the inexperienced and questionable leadership of Zico at the helm.

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They probably meant that the quartet as a whole is suprising, not because each individual member is surprising but because some of them are. Not a good way to say it, but still technically correct.

However, none of them seem particularly surprising to me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bump...if for nothing else than to see the Korean girl of our dreams above again. (by the way, if you want to see the context of the taking of the photos, see:


(but, you'll have to paste and copy direct to the address bar, because of link restrictions, you'll not get it just by clicking on the url here)

Well, the big thing in my mind is the Group 4 contests on Wednesday, with China having to best Hong Kong with 2 goals more than Kuwait boasts Malasia to go to a playoff match, 3 more to qualify. The conspiracy theories on various sides are having a field day.


I'll be sacked if China suffer exit says worried Haan

12 November 2004

by AFP

Beleaguered China coach Arie Haan said he will be sacked if his team are dumped out of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup when they take on Hong Kong next week.

China's dreams of reaching the finals in Germany are hanging by a thread going into their game against Hong Kong in Group Four, where they trail leaders Kuwait by a goal difference of two.

If China are knocked out -- a scenario that would be a crushing disappointment after the country's first ever appearance at the World Cup in 2002 -- Haan said his contract would be terminated.

"Right now we don't want to think about this question because it is a negative question," Haan told journalists when asked about whether he expected to be fired.

"Of course if we do not qualify then the contract is automatically terminated," the Soccer Daily quoted him as saying.

China will probably need to score a big win over Hong Kong and hope that Kuwait fail to rattle up a similary emphatic victory against Malaysia, who have lost all of their group matches.

If both China and Kuwait win the final group qualifier, goal difference will decide which team advances to the next round.

Haan said that China will adopt a strategy of all-out attack against Hong Kong as they seek to secure the big victory that will boost their chances of going through.

"Certainly we need to score goals in this match. When playing a relatively weak team like Hong Kong, we have to bring everyone forward and play in front of their goal mouth," Haan said.

"Five goals may not be not enough," Haan said, "but we have scored a lot of goals in our home matches... if we can play with the feeling that we had in the Asian Cup, then it should not be a big problem."


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Summary of Wednesday WCQ Matchday in Asia


China on red alert for crunch qualifier

15 November 2004

by Reuters

China's hopes of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals could disappear on Wednesday if they fail to collect a big win over Hong Kong.

Even that might not be enough for them to avoid four long years of bitter recrimination and soul-searching.

Elsewhere, South Korea need to beat Maldives to preserve their record of having qualified for every World Cup since 1986, while Iran should advance at the expense of Jordan.

Saudi Arabia, Japan, Bahrain, Uzbekistan and North Korea have already filled five of the eight spots in next year's final round of 2006 Asian World Cup qualifiers.

A 1-0 defeat in Kuwait last month has left China's qualification in the balance. Both teams have 12 points at the top of Group Four but Kuwait, who face Malaysia, are two goals better off than China.

Only one team will qualify from the group with Wednesday's final round of matches to go. The eight group winners will go through to two groups of four teams next year with the top two from each going straight through to Germany in 2006.

The two third-placed teams meet in a two-legged playoff and the winner of that then meets a country from the CONCACAF region to win the right to play in the finals, also in a two-legged tie.

Kuwait play at home to Malaysia, who have lost all five of their previous matches, and the Gulf side are now favourites to advance at the expense of China.

Failure to reach the World Cup in Germany would be a devastating setback for China and would certainly mark the end for Dutch coach Arie Haan.

"Right now I don't want to think about it because it's a negative question but of course if we do not qualify then (my) contract is automatically terminated," Haan said.

China, who made their World Cup finals debut in 2002, will be under extreme pressure, with the Asian Football Association (AFC) monitoring the game for signs of match-fixing.

Even with English-based midfielder Li Tie back in the squad after a lengthy injury lay-off, China's chances of pulling off an escape act in Guangzhou are slim.

South Korea, semi-finalists at the 2002 World Cup, at least control their own destiny and will expect to win Group Seven with victory over tiny Maldives.


However, a humiliating 0-0 draw away to the Indian Ocean islanders in March cost former South Korea coach Humberto Coelho his job.

Coach Jo Bonfrere has already promised victory in Seoul, where South Korea have lost seven out of their last eight matches.

"We will win this game for sure," said the Dutchman. "The only problem is when we score -- not if."

Lebanon, who trail South Korea by a point, take on Vietnam in Beirut in the other game.

Meanwhile, free-scoring Iran should clinch top spot in Group One as they take on visiting Laos, who have conceded 26 goals in five games.

Jordan travel to Qatar needing a miracle. Iran and Jordan both have 12 points but Iran's goal difference is far superior.

Among teams already sure of progressing, Japan will field a below-strength team for their final Group Three match at home to Singapore.

Japan coach Zico had wanted to call up several ex-internationals for the game in Saitama but was forced to back down after vociferous opposition from J-League clubs.

Mystery team North Korea, who had vanished from the international scene since their shock quarter-final appearance at the 1966 World Cup, travel to the United Arab Emirates having already won Group Five.

However, the focus will be on Guangzhou, where the sharp progress China have made over the past five years could come to a shuddering halt.

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DOHA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Iraq 4 Palestine 1 - result

World Cup, Asian Zone, Group Two

Note: Played in Doha due to security reasons.


Iraq - Qusay Munir 55pen, 59, Imad Mohammed 66, Nashat Akram 71

Palestine - Imad Hasan Zaatra 84

Halftime: 0-0

Referee: Ali Al Mutlaq (Saudi Arabia)

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South Korea just escaped with a 2-0 win over a bunkered-down Maldives to advance to the next round. But it took them 65 scary minutes to get the first goal (recall they played to a scoreless draw at Maldives in March). Had they not won, they would have been eliminated by a likely Lebanon win over Vietnam a bit later.

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WOW, what an ending!!!

China 7 Hong Kong 0

Kuwait 6 Malaysia 1

Kuwait and China finish even on points, head-to-head points, head-to-head goal difference, head-to-head goals scored, and overall goal difference. Kuwait advance on goals scored, by 1 goal! And China missed a PK in today's match! Wow!

You hate to see it come down to teams trying to bash their minnow opponents as much as possible, but Kuwait and China had to keep attacking until the very end, surely with an eye on each others' matches on the other side of the continent. Kuwait's match ended a bit earlier, with China still needing 3 goals. They managed only 2, literally in the last few minutes.

So Kuwait advance and China are out of the World Cup (HUGE blow for them).

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Last group to be decided:

Iran 7 Laos 0

Qatar 2 Jordan 0

With Iran and Jordan coming in tied on points, it's an clear finish for Iran.

Meanwhile, Chinese fans on Bigsoccer are discussing a fix. [:o]

Anyway, it's Iran, Uzbekistan, Japan, Kuwait, North Korea, Bahrain, South Korea and Saudi Arabia in the final 8.

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quote:Originally posted by DJT

Meanwhile, Chinese fans on Bigsoccer are discussing a fix. [:o]

Probably a case of the pot calling the kettle black.[:o)]

Both the Kuwait and Chinese matches had AFC investigators there looking at the matches, so if there is any indication of a fix in the Kuwait match, you may see the Asian FC (who are not ultimately responsible for WCQ anyway) recommending to the FIFA WC Competition Committee have a one-off playoff between China and Kuwait in a neutral country. Given the importance FIFA has for the Chinese market, there may be pressure in this direction. Could be the best way to resolve the conflict anyway.

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Draw for Final round of 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifications (Asia)

19 November 2004

from AFC site

The draw for the Final rounds (Asian zone) of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification will be held on 9 December 2004 at 1500 hours at the AFC House Kuala Lumpur. Champions of all the eight groups have confirmed their place in the Final qualification rounds of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The eight are IR Iran, Uzbekistan, Japan, Kuwait, Korea DPR, Bahrain, Korea Rep. and Saudi Arabia.

The final round of qualifications will be played on a home and away league basis. The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four.

The drawing procedure will be as follows:

i. There will be four pots (Pot A, B, C and D) containing two teams each

ii. Pot A will contain the top 2 ranked teams; pot B contains the countries ranked 3rd and 4th, pot C the countries ranked 5th and 6th while pot D, the countries ranked 7th and 8th.

iii. The eight teams will be classified on the basis of the AFC ranking in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan.

iv. The draw start with pot D and ends with pot A. Each pot is entirely emptied before proceeding to the next pot. The teams are allocated in the order in which they are drawn into groups 1 and 2 in their respective position (example below) starting from left to right.

Example: The teams in pot D are placed in position 4 in each group; the teams in pot C in position 3; the teams in pot B in position 2 and the teams in pot A in position 1.

v. The first- and second-placed teams in each group qualify directly for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™.

vi. The third-placed team from each group will contest a two-leg play-off on a home and away basis.

vii. The winner of the above play-off will play off with North, Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania and South America. The system of play shall be determined by the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™.


I believe the 2002 AFC WC Ranking would put the pots this way:

Pot A

South Korea


Pot B

Saudi Arabia


Pot C



Pot D


North Korea

[WCQ - Asia Final Round]

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