12 teams will advance to the third round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification and therefore qualify to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Those teams are the 7 group winners and 5 best runner ups (Qatar will not participate in the third round as they will host the world cup).
In the runners-up ranking, the results against the fifth ranked team of each group will be cancelled.
On June 7, thirty games will be played in the Asian Qualifiers. What games will we need to follow?
The Leaders Syria (18 points) will face Guam. An easy game for the men of Nabil Maaloul. A win will secure them to finish top of the group.
Therefore to secure their position to the third round as one of the five best-placed runners up, China must win their three remaining games: Philippines, Maldives, and Syria.
China has 10 points but in the runners-up ranking, the Dragons have now 4 points since their results against Guam will be cancelled.
[Syria vs Guam at 5pm. China vs Philippines at 8am]
The two games of the Group B are not important in the runners-up race. Jordan shouldn’t lose any precious points against Nepal.
[Nepal vs Jordan at 7pm. Australia vs Chinese Taipei at 10pm].
The game that all Asia will watch is Iran against Bahrain.
Bahrain has 12 points with one more game than Iraq (11) and Iran 9.
Iran can still finish top of the group if they win their three remaining games: Bahrain, Cambodia, and Iraq.
Any other results will be dramatic for Team Melli.
Before facing Iran, the Lions of Mesopotamia have two easy games on paper against Cambodia and Hong Kong. They are in a good position.
In case of a draw, both Bahrain and Iran might finish with 16 points if they win their remaining games. It means that in the runners-up ranking, they will have 10 points.
[Iraq vs Cambodia at 5:30pm. Iran vs Bahrain at 7:30pm]
Uzbekistan has three games remaining: Singapore, Yemen, Saudi Arabia. They must win them all.
They have 9 points from 5 games while Saudi Arabia has 14 points from 6 games.
Uzbekistan is not in a confortable position.
[Uzbekistan vs Singapore at 9pm]
In case of a win or a draw against Oman, Qatar will finish top of the group.
Oman has 12 points and three remaining games: Qatar, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
Oman is in a good position to finish among the five best-placed runners-up.
[Bangladesh vs India at 5pm. Oman vs Qatar at 8pm]
In case of a Japanese win or draw, Tajikistan won’t be able to be among the five best-placed runners-up.
Tajikistan has 10 points rom 6 games, while Kyrgyzstan has 7 points from 5 games.
[Kyrgyzstan vs Mongolia at 10am. Japan vs Tajikistan at 1:30pm]
4 teams are competing to top Group G: Vietnam (11 points from 5 games), UAE (9 points from 5 games), Thailand and Vietnam (both 9 points from 6 games).
To secure the top position of the group, UAE must win their three remaining games: Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam. Any other result would be dramatic for them.
[United Arab Emirates vs Thailand at 7:45pm. Vietnam vs Indonesia at 7:45pm]
What about Lebanon?
Lebanon has 10 points.
Lebanon has secured to finish at least in the second position of the Group H. If they want to top the group, they must beat Turkmenistan and then beat South Korea.
Lebanon’s players have their fate in their hands. One victory in their next two matches will qualify them for the third round of qualifiers but above all it means that The Cedars will play in the final stage of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.