Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

FIFA: World Cup qualifying well and truly alive in Asia

Posted in International Football by peterbein on July 4, 2011

2014 FIFA World Cup logoThe first round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying has been completed in Asia this weekend. Eight nations from Nepal to Malaysia, from Myanmar to the Philippines, have secured their places in the next round of qualifying which will take place in late July.

The biggest story of Asian (AFC) World Cup qualifying came at the Faisal Al-Husseini International stadium in the Palestinian city of Al-Ram where Palestine faced off against Afghanistan. The Palestinian national team has only been officially recognised by FIFA for fourteen years and they haven’t had a lot to shout about on the pitch in that time. The politics involved in both regions are well documented but the encouraging thing was to see a healthy 9,000 crowd turn out to see the home side progress into the next stage following their 3-1 aggregate victory over Afghanistan.

The first leg, which had been played in neutral Tajikistan, went the way of Palestine whose 2-0 win came courtesy of goals from Murad Alyan and Ismail Al-Amour. It didn’t take long in the return fixture for Palestine to increase their aggregate lead to 3-0 following Houssam Wadi’s 11th minute strike. The visitors restored some pride after the half-time break thanks to Bilal Arezou’ s consolation goal midway through the second half but the game had already been won by then. Palestine have set themselves up for a tough two-legged clash against Thailand in the second round.

The most dominant performance in the first round came from Vietnam whose 13-1 aggregate demolition of Macau included a seven goal haul from Le Cong Vinh who, as a result of his goal scoring spree, became the highest scorer in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying at the moment. Another match-up featuring plenty of goals was the tie involving Cambodia and Laos with the latter coming out on top by an 8-6 aggregate score line. Two more countries, the Philippines and Nepal, also secured their places in the next round by scoring a multitude of goals, the former putting Sri Lanka in their place with a 5-1 aggregate win whilst the latter did even better against Timor-Leste with a 7-1 victory.

There were more tighter contests played out in the remaining two first round ties. Myanmar eventually got the better of Mongolia with the former’s 2-0 home victory on Sunday turning around a 1-0 reverse in the opening leg. Tighter still was the game involving 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup (South East Asian) champions Malaysia and underdogs Chinese Taipei who worried their opponents throughout the two-legged contest. However Malaysia managed to scrape through on away goals with their 2-1 home win in the first leg followed by a 3-2 defeat in Taipei yesterday. With the game tied at 4-4, Malaysia’s two away goals saw them home and secure them a tie against Singapore in the next round.

AFC ZONE 2ND ROUND WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

China v Laos

Iran v Maldives

Iraq v Yemen

Jordan v Nepal

Kuwait v Philippines

Lebanon v Bangladesh

Oman v Myanmar

Qatar v Vietnam

Saudi Arabia v Hong Kong

Singapore v Malaysia

Syria v Tajikistan

Thailand v Palestine

Turkmenistan v Indonesia

United Arab Emirates v India

Uzbekistan v Kyrgyzstan

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