There were four crucial matches in the Asian section of the World Cup 2014 qualification tournament this week with the headline news being that Japan became the first team to secure their qualification. They cannot now be overtaken at the top of Group B following their draw with Australia and Oman‘s victory over Iraq. Japan had gone behind to a late goal from Tommy Oar, but they won a late penalty to equalise through Keisuke Honda and draw 1-1. Oman‘s 1-0 win over Iraq in Muscat came courtesy of an Ismail Al Ajmi goal in injury time at the end of the first half.
Any of the other four teams from Group B could still finish in second spot and seal automatic qualification for the finals behind the Japanese. Oman are in pole position on nine points but they have played a game more than the other three. The remaining fixtures are Australia v Jordan and Iran v Japan on Tuesday the 11th of June and Australia v Iraq and Jordan v Oman on Tuesday the 18th of June.
In Group A Qatar and Lebanon saw their hopes of automatic qualification ended and indeed Lebanon are now completely out as they can no longer even make the play off for the fifth spot following their 1-1 draw with South Korea in Beirut. Lebanon had looked set to win as they led for most of the match through Hassan Maatouk’s 12th minute strike but their hopes were dashed deep into injury time when Chi-Woo Kim equalised for the Koreans, who now top the group. Iran beat Qatar 1-0 away in Doha with a goal from Reza Ghoochannejhad to keep the pressure on South Korea and Uzbekistan at the top of the table. The remaining Group A fixtures are South Korea v Uzbekistan and Iran v Lebanon on Tuesday the 11th of June and South Korea v Iran and Uzbekistan v Qatar on Tuesday the 18th of June.
The current group tables are as follows: