Mongolia in the driving seat to grab EAFF second round spot

Mongolia make home advantage count 

Mongolia has really gone about making home advantage count in the first round of the East Asian Championships as they have put themselves into pole position by winning the group which would mean they grab the only spot that would take them to the second round that will take place in Taipei next month. 

In their first group match they defeated Macau 4-1, then they went on to destroy East Asian minnows Northern Mariana Islands 9-0. That means a win against Guam in the final group match would mean they will advance to the second round where they will face Hong Kong, Taiwan and North Korea. 

Defeating Macau was vital 

Mongolia and Macau on paper are fairly matched, so predicting the outcome of such games isn’t the easiest, the outcome genuinely could go either way in a matchup against two nations like these. 

Mongolia came out on top though in this encounter and that is vital to them currently being the favourites to take the spot in the second round. As the Northern Mariana Islands make up one of the teams in the first round, it is important to not lose to the other two teams – Macau and Guam because all of Mongolia, Macau and Guam will beat the Northern Mariana Islands. Therefore the first-day victory over Macau was massive for Mongolia, and it is what has put them on course to win the group. 

Northern Mariana Islands demolition 

Guam defeated the Northern Mariana Islands 4-0 on the opening day of the East Asian Championships, so that meant Mongolia had to push strongly to better that result. As all teams are likely to defeat the Northern Mariana Islands, scoring as many goals as possible is vitally important for the teams if they want to make it to the next round. 

It’s unfortunate to see the Northern Mariana Islands in this situation but as they aren’t a FIFA member this is one of the few international tournaments that they can participate in plus with them not being an international association for a long time it becomes understandable that they are the whipping boys, when you consider how long it has taken other world minnows to win games and start doing relatively well, and I am not talking about Iceland but more teams like the Faroe Islands and Luxembourg. Even Turkey used to be Europe’s whipping boys 30 to 40 years ago which shows that development is not impossible however small you are. 

So Mongolia needed to score more than 4 goals otherwise they would risk losing out to Guam, well the Mongolians needn’t worry about that because they defeated NMI (Northern Mariana Islands) 9-0 to put them in the driving seat of the group. 

There’s a small chance Macau or Guam could steal the top spot from Mongolia

Macau defeated Guam 2-0 in their second game of the competition, to put them on 3pts, and Guam has 3pts from their 4-0 win over NMI while Mongolia sits top on 6pts from defeating both NMI and Macau. 

If Macau and Guam want to have any hope of getting past Mongolia then they both have to win, and by win we mean win big. With Mongolia scoring 9 there needs to be a massive GD swing in favour of Macau or Guam for them to go through. Realistically the only team out of the two who stand a chance of doing this is Macau because they still need to play against NMI whereas Guam plays host nation Mongolia and are unlikely to win by the scoreline needed to give them any hope of getting through.

So the slight danger for Mongolia will come from Macau, but if Mongolia defeats Guam that all becomes irrelevant due to Mongolia having 3 wins out of 3 and no chance of being knocked out. Our money is on Mongolia winning this now, with Macau coming a close second. 

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