When Taiwan win the 2023 Asian Cup, I won't be able to wave my flag

Taiwan is on an upward trajectory to becoming Asian Cup champions in 2023. Well, maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself saying champions, but Taiwan does stand a very good chance of qualifying for the finals next time around, considering they only missed out last time by a bloody point. 

However, as South Korea pulled out of the bidding for hosting rights, that leaves only China wanting to host the tournament, which could/would throw up some complications and challenges for Taiwan, and their fans.

Taiwan's flag would be banned

If Taiwan succeeded in qualifying for the next Asian Cup, then I think a small band of Taiwan footy fans would make the journey across the Taiwan strait. They would be in China, to watch the lads bring back the trophy to the island where Tofu is more popular than the beautiful game. However, none of us would be able to display our national flag, because of the political issues that exist between Taiwan and China. 

It would be disappointing that my mighty Riverside Mags Taiwan NUFC flag wouldn't be able to get a showing at a major finals. If I did get it out and fly it, I can't say with certainty that it wouldn't provoke a violent reaction but there would be a high possibility it could.

It would feel bittersweet to finally get to a tournament and be one of the only nations at the finals banned from displaying the national flag with pride, in a similar way every other nation is able to.

With even countries like Palestine able to display their flag. Would FIFA do anything about this issue? Not a chance in hell they would, China is a big market to upset, and like the rest of the world, FIFA know where their bread is buttered.

It will be a great achievement for Taiwan getting to the finals, and I know I am jokingly saying they will go there and lift the trophy, but if that actually ended up happening, then it would be a bigger miracle than when Greece beat Portugal in their backyard to lift the Euro Trophy back in 2004.

Do Taiwan stand a chance?

Taiwan definitely stands a chance of making the next Asian Cup Finals, considering they just missed out by one point in their attempt to qualify for the 2019 version.

Gary White and Louis Lancaster came in halfway through the last qualifying campaign and got Taiwan steamrollering teams. At one point after Bahrain was defeated in Taipei, it did look like Taiwan would make it to the Asian Cup in the UAE, but they needed a draw away to Turkmenistan, and lost 2-1, on Tim Chow and Will Donkin's debut.

Taiwan hammered away at the Turkmenistan door but was let down largely due to inept finishing. Shots were fired over from a yard out, chances went begging throughout the game, then Turkmenistan scored what few chances they had.

Since then, however, Taiwan has continued to improve massively, Gary White has left, and now Louis Lancaster has taken over the role full time. He has put a more attacking stamp into Taiwan's style of play, utilising a high pressing, high tempo approach which will shock teams who face Taiwan and expect them to sit back in the hope they won't lose.

The qualifying draw will be vital and will influence the chances a lot, be it higher, or lower chance - depending on which teams Taiwan will be drawn to face. Taiwan's momentum is pushing them in the right direction, and that direction is the Asian Cup in 2023 (the World Cup is a bridge too far). It would be a major achievement if they succeed in qualifying, a favourable draw would help in this instance.

Taiwan can qualify, but bitter-sweetness will be the order of the day, as no doubt Taiwan fans will be restricted over what banners can be displayed, what they can sing and not being able to drape the national flag over the stands like every other country. That wouldn't stop a small merry band of us heading there though, and chanting Taiwan onward to lifting that beautiful tin pot in 2023!

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