Taiwan face Malaysia in preparation for the EAFF Championships
According to Taiwan’s recent and up-and-coming fixtures on Wikipedia Taiwan will play a friendly against Malaysia to prepare for the EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) Championship.
Malaysia is currently ranked at 171st in FIFA’s World Rankings way below Taiwan who is ranked 121st.
Malaysia looks like the only confirmed warm-up game
As far as we can tell, Malaysia looks like the only confirmed friendly match arranged so far to prepare for the EAFF Championships. This situation could change easily enough though and it’s not out of the realms of possibility that they could be working on other games. They could also not be working on any more. It’s just a waiting game at the moment.
It’s likely that a lot of the guys in the Asian Games squad will be included in the EAFF Championship squad too, so if that is the case then it makes sense to only have one arranged friendly plus the Asian Games to prepare.
Malaysia warming up for the Suzuki Cup
Malaysia will play against Taiwan as a part of six friendlies they have prepared before they take part in the Suzuki Cup. The Suzuki Cup is a regional based competition similar to the EAFF Championship for South East Asian nations.
Malaysian football hasn’t been doing very well recently but they have a good generation of youngsters playing at youth level that they will be hoping will get them the results to bring them storming back up the rankings. I would expect to see a lot of these youngsters take part in Taipei as Malaysia try to rebuild their football team, and restore some credibility against their regional rivals because currently, they’ve become a bit of a joke for rival fans.
Tournament football will be a big help this time around for Taiwan
Taiwan’s experience of playing in tournament football should help them more this time around in the EAFF Championship. Before the last competition, they only played one warm-up game which was against Macau in Taipei.
With no disrespect intended against Macau, they are not on a similar level to North Korea, but some may argue that either is Malaysia after they lost 4-0 to them in both the home and away Asian Cup Qualifying matches. However, as previously mentioned Malaysia have a strong crop of younger players coming through and if these guys feature in Taipei they could be a more difficult team to face than a one full of senior internationals.
This time around Taiwan have been getting practice in playing tournament style football, this could be something that Gary White and his staff have insisted on because previously Taiwan didn’t really take part in any tournaments of note outside of World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying and the EAFF Championship.
This time, however, they have played in the Asian Cup qualifying, the invitational Hero Cup in India, and will take part in the Asian Games. Playing more tournament styled football can only be beneficial for Taiwanese football in the future as the players see what it is like to play in tournaments instead of just one of matches.
It will be difficult for Taiwan to get to the final round of the EAFF Championships but not impossible
Taiwan hasn’t come close to qualifying for the final round of the EAFF Championships in the 8 years I have been living in Taiwan, the previous competition they had to enter into the first round because their FIFA World Ranking was too low, and breezed through the first round against Mongolia, Macau and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The second round was totally different bacon, Taiwan got absolutely hammered by hosts Hong Kong, lost easily to North Korea, and saved some face by defeating ten men Guam. This time around the same opposition will prove to be the biggest obstacles, Hong Kong and North Korea will be the biggest challenge.
The friendly against Malaysia plus the Asian Games will be good warm-ups for the EAFF. The game has been set to take place on 7th September 2018, but at this moment there is no kick off time or venue mentioned.