The fixtures will feature some of the most popular sides Asia has to offer.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been scheduled to be conducted in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar and although, it seems like a fairly long time away, the preparations have already commenced. It is the ultimate dream of most Asian countries, including India, to represent their flag at the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. This though, is a task that is easier said than done, as only 32 nations from across the world qualify for the tournament every four years.
The qualification process is an extremely long drawn one – although the Asian qualifiers actually began on 6th June 2019, they are set to run until March 2022. It takes just under three years of consistent performances to make it to the tournament and with such massive competition all around as well, this can seem like a herculean task for a lot of countries with limited resources.
As the second round of qualifiers gets underway on September 5, let’s take a look at the top five games to watch out for over the next couple of weeks from across the continent.
5. Thailand Vs Vietnam – 5th September – Thammasat Stadium, Bangkok
Thailand and Vietnam are two teams who were in the same group during the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Due to this, there is a little bit of history between these sides that could be triggered when they square off in Bangkok on Thursday.
Indeed, it was the Thais who won both the fixtures during the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, making them the favourites to be the victors in this tie as well.
4. India Vs Oman – 5th September – Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati
Although, this fixture might seem like a bit of a mismatch on paper, the fact that India have developed massively in recent months could be a deciding factor. Even though the Blue Tigers don’t have the best of records against Oman, they will be hopeful that playing in front of home support will be enough to guide them to victory this time out.
Oman beat India in both their fixtures during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and drew the game against the Blue Tigers ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 and are coming into this tie on the back of a three-game unbeaten streak.
3. Kuwait Vs Australia – 10th September – Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, Kuwait City
This is one of the more high-profile fixtures on offer this week, as the Socceroos will be travelling to Kuwait City to try and make it to yet another FIFA World Cup. Having successfully secured entry into the tournament for the last four editions, the Australians seem to have become experts on this front.
Kuwait will be looking to cause a massive upset and beat them on home soil in order to make a statement to the rest of the group. However, Kuwait haven’t done very well against Australia and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
2. Qatar Vs India – 10th September – Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
India’s next adventure during the World Cup expedition will see them make the short trip across the Arabian Sea to take on Qatar next week.
The Qataris took part in the Copa America earlier this year and managed to put up a couple of decent performances. It does seem like they have enough firepower to overcome the obstacle that India pose at the moment.
1. Indonesia Vs Thailand – 10th September – Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta
Thailand’s second match in the upcoming set of fixtures sees them travel to Jakarta to take on an Indonesian side that have had a mixed run-in to the qualifiers, considering that their last competitive fixture was a 6-0 drubbing of Vanuatu in June.
Although, Thailand have been the better side in this fixture in the past, Indonesia possess enough attacking potential to spur a massive surprise and take the win later next week.