- Asia’s giant five begin their campaign
- Mongolia hope to continue their good run
- Malaysia eyes revenge in re-match with UAE
Asia's big boys will take centre stage as the continent's second qualifying round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ reaches Matchday 2 on Tuesday.
Notably, the giant quintet of Australia, IR Iran, Japan, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia will enjoy their opening fixtures, aiming to open with a bang after sitting out the opening matchday.
Eight winning teams from Thursday go into their second outings hoping to continue their good run, but the likes of Kuwait and Turkmenistan will ace serious scrutiny at the hands of Australia and Korea Republic. Join FIFA.com as we preview the ties across Asia.
Second round, Matchday 2 fixtures:
Group A: Guam-Philippines, Maldives-China PR
Group B: Chinese Taipei-Nepal, Kuwait-Australia
Group C: Cambodia-Bahrain, Hong Kong-IR Iran
Group D: Singapore-Palestine, Yemen-Saudi Arabia
Group E: Afghanistan-Bangladesh, Qatar-India
Group F: Mongolia-Tajikistan, Myanmar-Japan
Group G: Indonesia-Thailand, Malaysia-United Arab Emirates
Group H: Turkmenistan-Korea Republic, Sri Lanka-Korea DPR
Malaysia-United Arab Emirates
Group G leaders Malaysia entertain United Arab Emirates knowing that they have a clear score to settle. Four years ago, the Malayan Tigers suffered a 10-0 loss at the same stage on the road to Russia 2018 with the result being their biggest defeat of all time. With the memory still fresh in mind, coach Tan Cheng Hoe's side enter the re-match keen on avenging that with a vastly improved result.
After all, the hosts can now boast a much-developed team. Their progress couldn't be better showcased than in Thursday's opening fixture when they came from a goal down to edge hosts Indonesia by 3-2. The goal-scoring form of Mohamadou Sumareh, their two-goal hero in that comeback win, will be the key for Malaysia in springing a surprise against UAE.
Bert van Marwijk's visitors, meanwhile, travel to Malaysia on the back of a pair of friendly wins against Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. While the West Asians arrive in Kuala Lumpur hoping to extend their superior record, they will look to midfield maestro Omar Abdulrahman, who provided six assists as they dismantled the Malaysians in the aforementioned meeting, to repeat his exploits.
The section's other match pits hosts Indonesia against Thailand, with both teams hoping to bounce back after dropping points in the opener.
The other attractions
In Group A, Marcello Lippi's new-look China PR travel to Maldives expecting to get their campaign off to a good start. Team Dragon can count on the goal-scoring form of Espanyol forward Wu Lei, Brazilian-born Elkeson and veteran Zheng Zhi remains the man who pulls the string in the midfield. In the other match, Guam entertain Philippines after both kicked off with a defeat.
Group B leaders Kuwait welcome Australia in the two sides' third World Cup qualifying meeting. But it is Romeo Jozak's hosts, rather than the Socceroos, who can boast a proud past record having won both home and away on the road to Argentina 1978. Graham Arnold's Green and Gold side, for their part, came strong in their latest meetings, winning big in their 2015 AFC Asian Cup encounter before cruising to a 4-0 friendly victory last year. Chinese Taipei entertain Nepal in the section's other match with both sides desperate to get their campaign back on track with a win.
In Group C, Iran, under new boss Marc Wilmots, travel to Hong Kong aiming to open brightly. Having shared the spoils with Iraq in the opener, Bahrain take on hosts Cambodia in the section's other match looking to add a win to their new account.
Having stunned Uzbekistan at home in the opener, Group D's Palestine arrive in Singapore hoping to consolidate their place at the top with a second win. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia travel to face Yemen while seeking to continue their dominance having won fourteen and drawn one in all fifteen past meetings.
Group E front-runners Qatar entertain India seeking to extend their lead with a second win at home. Having lost their opener in Qatar, Afghanistan welcome Bangladesh in an all-South Asian affair, with the host keen on bouncing back with a win.
Group F's joint leaders Mongolia and Tajikistan do battle in Ulaanbaatar in what is the two sides' first-ever World Cup qualifying encounter. While Michael Weiss's hosts are expecting to continue their good run, it remains to be seen whether they can breach the Central Asians' solid defence. In the other game, Japan travel to Myanmar targeting three points.
In Group H, leaders Korea DPR enter their second outing against hosts Sri Lanka hoping for back-to-back wins. Having won both home and away on the road to South Africa 2010, Korea Republic take on hosts Turkmenistan confident of prolonging their hegemony against the Central Asians.
Did you know?
All five of Asia’s representatives at Russia 2018 begin their bid for Qatar 2022 under new bosses.