The World Cup Qualifying Catch-Up for the AFC

They’ve finished the recent lot of matches in 2018 World Cup qualification for the AFC, and we now sit at the halfway point of the second round. It seems like a very opportune time for Statscrunch to catch up.

The first round

The first round consisted of FIFA’s favourite method of eliminating teams quickly: a two-leg playoff. They ended with these results…

  • INDIA 2:0 NEPAL
  • YEMEN 3:1 PAKISTAN
  • TIMOR-LESTE 5:1 MONGOLIA
  • CAMBODIA 4:1 MACAU
  • CHINESE TAIPEI 2:1 BRUNEI
  • SRI LANKA 1:3 BHUTAN

The second round

The second round consists of eight groups of five, with the top team making it to the third round. The second-placed teams in each group are ranked. The standings so far:

(An asterisk means they’ve played four games instead of five.)

Group A

  1. SAUDI ARABIA, 12 pts, +12*
  2. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 7 pts, +10*
  3. PALESTINE, 5 pts, +5*
  4. MALAYSIA, 4 pts, -18
  5. TIMOR-LESTE, 2 pts, -9

Group B

  1. JORDAN, 13 pts, +11
  2. AUSTRALIA, 9 pts, +7*
  3. KYRGYZSTAN, 8 pts, +3
  4. TAJIKISTAN, 2 pts, -8
  5. BANGLADESH, 1 pt, -13

Group C

  1. QATAR, 15 pts, +22
  2. HONG KONG, 10 pts, +9
  3. CHINA PR, 7 pts, +8*
  4. MALDIVES, 3 pts, -9
  5. BHUTAN, 0 pts, -30

Group D

  1. OMAN, 11 pts, +6
  2. IRAN, 8 pts, +9*
  3. TURKMENISTAN, 7 pts, -1
  4. GUAM, 7 pts, -5
  5. INDIA, 0 pts, -9

Group E

  1. SYRIA, 12 pts, +13
  2. JAPAN, 10 pts, +12*
  3. SINGAPORE, 10 pts, +5
  4. AFGHANISTAN, 3 pts, -15
  5. CAMBODIA, 0 pts, -15

Group F

  1. THAILAND, 4 games, 10 pts, +6
  2. IRAQ, 3 games, 5 pts, +4
  3. VIETNAM, 4 games, 4 pts, -3
  4. CHINESE TAIPEI, 3 games, 0 pts, -7
  5. INDONESIA (disqualified due to governmental interference)

Group G

  1. SOUTH KOREA, 12 pts, +14*
  2. KUWAIT, 10 pts, +11
  3. LEBANON, 7 pts, 0
  4. MYANMAR, 4 pts, -11
  5. LAOS, 1 pt, -14

Group H

  1. NORTH KOREA, 13 pts, +7
  2. UZBEKISTAN, 9 pts, +7*
  3. PHILIPPINES, 7 pts, -3
  4. BAHRAIN, 6 pts, 0
  5. YEMEN, 0 pts, -11

The ranking of the second-placed teams

The teams in second placed are ranked based on their results against 1st, 3rd, and 4th in each group. The top 4 go through to the third round.

(Note: All have played 3 games except Kuwait.)

  1. KUWAIT, 7 pts, +9
  2. JAPAN, 7 pts, +9
  3. UZBEKISTAN, 6 pts, +6
  4. AUSTRALIA, 6 pts, +2
  5. IRAN, 5 pts, +6
  6. IRAQ, 5 pts, +4
  7. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 4 pts, +9
  8. HONG KONG, 4 pts, +1

What happens next?

Where it to finish right now, SAUDI ARABIA, JORDAN, QATAR, OMAN, SYRIA, THAILAND, SOUTH KOREA, NORTH KOREA, KUWAIT, JAPAN, UZBEKISTAN and AUSTRALIA would qualify to the third round. In the third round, the teams would be divided into two groups of six. To help illustrate my point, they would become:

  • Group A: SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR, SYRIA, SOUTH KOREA, KUWAIT, AUSTRALIA
  • Group B: JORDAN, OMAN, THAILAND, NORTH KOREA, JAPAN, UZBEKISTAN

These groups would then each play a double round robin. I’m using the current FIFA World Rankings to show the hypothetical final rankings for each group.

Group A

  1. SOUTH KOREA
  2. AUSTRALIA
  3. SAUDI ARABIA
  4. QATAR
  5. SYRIA
  6. KUWAIT

Group B

  1. JAPAN
  2. UZBEKISTAN
  3. JORDAN
  4. OMAN
  5. NORTH KOREA
  6. THAILAND

The top two in each group would go through to the World Cup (SOUTH KOREA, AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, and UZBEKISTAN). The third placed teams would have a 2-leg playoff, which, again based on the rankings, goes to SAUDI ARABIA. The Saudis will then playoff against the fourth placed team in CONCACAF. Anyway, it all remains to see how this will turn out, and the other catch-ups are coming soon.

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