A Postive First Round World Cup Qualifying draw for East Asian nations


The draw for the first round of Asian World Cup qualifying took place today, and it couldn't have gone any better for the three East Asian nations involved. Guam, Macau, and Mongolia will all be happy with it and will see a chance of qualifying for the group stages as a realistic aim.

Bhutan vs Guam

We start with the last EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) nation out of the pot. Guam was the very last side to be drawn, so they knew they would be facing Bhutan at that point, and we think they will be relatively happy with the draw, as Bhutan were one of the weakest seeded teams in the draw.

Guam will be playing away first in Bhutan's wonderful stadium, it's pretty unique and I would advise you to look it up. So you would expect if the first leg doesn't turn out to be a disaster that Guam should make it through to the group stages without too many issues. Bhutan did qualify for the group stages for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers but that was seen as a major surprise they got that far, and in the group stages, they suffered some hidings along the way. People mocked and laughed at that but for tiny Bhutan to even make the group stage of qualifying was a massive achievement and I think it is unlikely they'll manage it again.

There is a fair bit of distance between Bhutan and Guam, and maybe that could be a factor in each side home leg as the conditions that each country is used to will be drastically different in the other, plus long travel time could be a factor. Guam should prevail in this tie, and enter the group stage, however, let's hope they don't decide to pull out again this time around due to financial constraints from their FA who claimed that drawing so many teams from West Asia was a factor in their decision to pull out of Asian Cup qualifying.

Macau vs Sri Lanka

Whichever side Macau drew from the second pot didn't matter so much as we reckon that Macau will find the game against any of the sides from pot 2 finally balanced. Macau is at home first, and we believe they will need to put in a strong performance in the first leg to stand a chance of going through.

The match will be finely balanced and both Macau and Sri Lanka will be happy enough with the draw and think they have a huge chance of going through to the group stage of qualifying. Can Macau justify being put in the draw as a seeded team? We hope so because for such a country getting to the group stage can be extremely beneficial for support, and development prospects in the future. 

Mongolia vs Brunei

Mongolia has got a good draw by getting paired with Brunei today, there is a massive chance that Mongolia will qualify for the second round group stage. By doing so they will at least go some way in putting being cheated out of the World Cup last time around behind them. 

Brunei is one of the weakest South East Asian nations and it's hardly surprising, to be honest when you consider the size of their country is just one section of Borneo. Saying that they will still be a tricky opponent for Mongolia, and if Mongolia doesn't take them seriously enough they'll find themselves out of the World Cup and Asian Cup 3 years before the tournament finals again.

I believe Mongolia should prevail here, but Brunei could spring a shock if the Mongolians aren't firmly on the ball from the off.

So there you have it, a great draw for the three sides from the EAFF, and it will be great if the three of them can all qualify for the second round which is the form of a group stage because being guaranteed so many games is excellent for developing football countries, whereas the flip side of the coin, losing, going out and having no games is a disaster for these countries that they don't want to be contemplating right now.

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