After some twists and turns on Matchday 3, some unlikely scenarios are shaping up in Groups 3, 4, and 5 of the Asian third round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Uzbekistan are only a win away from going through to the final round, while Turkmenistan and Lebanon are desperate for a first win to avoid early exits. Groups 3 and 5 are still wide open.
Group 3: Jordan plotting another surprise
Jordan - Korea Republic, Amman, 7 June, 17:30 (local time)
Having stunned Korea Republic by fighting back from two goals behind to draw 2-2 in Seoul last Saturday, Jordan take on the leaders at home hoping to take an unlikely lead in the section. Nelo Vingada said his team would use the same counterattacking tactics which paid off last week against the South Koreans, who will be without key players Kim Dong-Jin and Lee Chung-Yong due to injury. The Taeguk Warriors will be banking on the scoring prowess of Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung, who netted Korea Republic's 100th home goal in FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Korea DPR - Turkmenistan, Pyongyang, 7 June, 17:00 (local time)
Although the sides shared the spoils with a goalless draw on Monday, the return leg in the North Korean capital is more likely to be an open game. Turkmenistan, facing elimination if they lose this game and Korea Republic beat Jordan, have all to play for. Yet the auspices are not good for them, as Korea DPR have not yet conceded a goal in the third qualifying round, while Turkmenistan are yet to score one.
Group 4: Uzbeks eyeing early qualification
Uzbekistan - Singapore, Tashkent, 7 June, 19:00 (local time)
Following their 7-3 away victory over Singapore on Monday, Uzbekistan are within a whisker of becoming the first Asian team to qualify for the final round. If the hosts win, they will be guaranteed a top two finish regardless of the results of the two remaining games. Seven-goal hero Maksim Shatskikh will be aiming to leapfrog Thailand's Sarayoot Chaikamdee onto the top of the Asian scoring chart in front of his home crowd.
Lebanon - Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 7 June, 18:00 (local time)
Lebanon lost 4-1 after taking the lead against Saudi Arabia on Monday, and they know this home match is their last chance: having lost all three games so far, another loss would put them out of contention. For their part, the Saudis are relishing the opportunity to tighten their grip on the second place, and are delighted to be playing their "away" leg at home in Riyadh.
Group 5: The battle for top spot
United Arab Emirates - Iran, Al Ain, 7 June, 20:00 (local time)
Iran blew their chance to overtake the leaders in a goalless draw in Tehran, and it is now the UAE's turn to consolidate their position on top. A home win would take Bruno Metsu's charges a step closer to the next round, while the Iranians will be hurting for a win after being held in their three previous games. Ali Daei's side were unlucky in front of goal on Monday, and this game will be a good chance to finally prove themselves worthy of their reputation.
Kuwait - Syria, Kuwait City, 8 June, 20:45 (local time)
Syria are on the up after picking up their first win in the third round against Kuwait on Monday. A 1-0 victory was enough for the Syrians to draw level with the UAE at the top of Group 5, but they should not underestimate their opponents, who famously fought back from two goals down at home to draw 2-2 against Iran on Matchday 2. The hosts will be under the new leadership of Mohammed Ibrahim, who replaced Croatian coach Radion Gacanin following the 1-0 defeat by Syria.