Whilst in this part of the world, any excitement surrounding international soccer at the moment, is very much focussed on the summer’s European Championship, Asia is right in the middle of its qualification campaign for World Cup 2014.
Korea Republic, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar completed the line-up for the final phase of Asian Zone qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil this week meaning that quartet along with Australia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, and Uzbekistan will progress to the final phase, with Saudi Arabia the most surprising name to fall after Frank Rijkard’s outfit lost 4-2 in Sydney this week.
There was one note of potential controversy, with Bahrain needing to win and overturn a nine-goal goal difference swing. They were awarded four penalties (missing two) in a 9-0 romp over Indonesia, with FIFA saying it would conduct a “routine investigation.” Bahrain’s win was rendered redundant on the night however as Iran secured the draw (2-2) with Qatar which the Iranians needed to progress, irrespective of results elsewhere.
The ten teams will now be split into two groups, with the winners and runners-up from each qualifying for Brazil and the third-placed sides doing battle for the right to face the fifth placed team from South America in a two-legged play-off to decide what will eventually be the final qualifying berth for 2014.