Asian World Cup 2006 qualifiersEight teams move to second round [Archives:2004/795/Sports]
By Adel Al-Khawlani
Yemen Times Staff
After a tough competition lasting for many months in several Asian stadiums, eight teams have advanced to the second round of the Asian World Cup 2006 qualifiers.
The last games held on Nov. 17 determined the qualifier of each group. No new surprises came, except for Kuwait's attaining the qualification card from among the fourth group at the expense of the Chinese team, with a goal difference.
Kuwait is the third Arab qualifier after Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to complete the number of the eight qualifiers, which are Iran, Japan, Uzpakistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, North Korea, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
The qualifiers will be divided into two groups with four teams each.
The first of each group will qualify directly, whereas the second team of Group One is to meet its counterpart of Group Two to determine the third qualifier and the loser will await meeting the last ranking team of the CONCACAF; Confederation of North Central American & Caribbean Association Football.
In the concluding round, Yemen's national team produced for us a wonderful scenario against Thailand, affirming that it is going on in progressive steps and its level from one meeting to another is improved. The team showed possession of the ball over the course of the play with Thailand in Bangkok. It scored prior to the hosts who equalized in the compensation time to end the meeting with a 1-1 tie.
By this the team showed it has the adequate preparation for the 17th Gulf Championship due to start in the Qatari capital of Dauha just after one week.
– Japan followed by Saudi Arabia attained the share of the lion in the forest in terms of winning all the encounters and scoring large numbers of goals.
– The first round of the Asian qualifiers saw 296 goals, 131 of which are the share of Arab teams. The round also witnessed 96 games, 87 of which ended in victories while 9 in draws. Group one, two and three have never witnessed any draws.
– Uzbakistan followed by Iran proved to be the strongest offensive teams throughout the round as the former scored 23 goals and the latter 22 goals.
– Japan and Saudi Arabia asserted themselves to have the strongest defense since only a single goal was scored in the net of each team.
– Serilank is the weakest team in the competition for it never scored any goal.
– It is the first group which scored the largest number of goals that is 50 and it is the eight group that scored the less number of goals which is only 30. The Japanese and Saudi teams are the only two who won all the encounters with 18 pionts each.
– The fourth group is the strongest in the sense of tough competitions among its members as the qualifier has not been announced till the final seconds of the last encounter when Kuwait qualified for the second round at the expense of China with only one goal difference after the two teams reaped 15 pionts each.
– 3 Arab teams out of twelve could advance to the second round.