2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

Goalfest creates excitement in Asia


Matchday 3 of Asia's third qualifying round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ turned out to be a goal-laden affair, with a number of favourites enjoying big wins to move a step closer to early progression. Notably Japan, Iran, Australia and Jordan hit a combined total of 24 unanswered goals, drawing significant attention from their respective local media.

In an article entitled "Australia has point to prove", The Age hails the confident performance of Holger Osieck's outfit. "The 2014 World Cup is three years away," it begins, "but the Socceroos have Brazil firmly in their sights after a comfortable 3-0 win against Oman at ANZ Stadium last night."

The victorious German mentor was in an obvious celebratory mood, with a point in Oman on 11 November potentially enough to seal their passage. "I am very pleased," he told The Australian. "Oman needed to win the game but we showed we were in command for nearly the whole game. Our opponents hardly had any opportunities."

We knew there were high expectations on us for this match, and all the players responded to that very well.

Japan entered their home fixture with Tajikistan having scored only two goals from the opening two matches which, though yielding four points, prompted concerns that a lack of bite in the attacking third may be an ongoing concern. However, Alberto Zaccheroni's side produced the biggest win of the campaign so far, routing their rivals 8-0 to send the local press into raptures.

But it was the Italian manager that let out a sigh of relief after the match. "This was a win that leaves us with a great feeling," he said in the Japan Times. "We knew there were high expectations on us for this match, and all the players responded to that very well."

With the entire Japan team playing well, it was 24-year-old Mike Havenaar who is being hailed as Japan's latest new-found talent after breaking his international duck with a brace in only his third match. The Ventforet Kofu forward opened the scoring for his side, before striking his second after the interval to make it 5-0 for the hosts. "It was just a case of me putting both goals away," Havenaar told The Mainchi Daily News. "It was important to get the three points and I am pleased we could do that."

Having lost a crucial qualifier 3-1 against Bahrain on the road to Korea/Japan 2002, Iran were not lacking motivation as they took to the field at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. Their 6-0 home win, understandably provided the local media with an unexpected outlet to loudly sing the team’s praises. "Iran punish Bahrain 6-0," was the title of an article from the persianfootball.com, while the Tehran Times led with "Team Melli routs 10-man Bahrain".

But there has was disappointment elsewhere, with Chinese media left lamenting the nation’s 1-0 home defeat to Iraq, a result which put them on the edge of elimination. "After losing a game we dominated once again, we are left with no option but to win the next game against Iraq in Doha," the country's leading Xinhua News Agency stated. "Finishing remained the key problem for us, which led to our loss despite the numerous chances we had created."

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