Taiwan's players cautiously optimistic about World Cup qualifiers

Taiwan's players have stated that their training camp and all looks to be going well. While they are looking forward to the draw which will take place later this month. The squad are optimistic that they can push hard for a place in the final qualifying round to match how football is progressing on the island, but a lot will depend on the draw they are handed. 

The squad going into qualifiers with an optimistic outlook

Taiwan's squad are confident they can do well in World Cup qualifying but are also being realistic about it at the same time. A lot of progress has been made by the Taiwan national side over the last few years, which has been reflected in their current World Rankings (125) which is still one of the highest the country has ever been.

Therefore Taiwan has skipped the first round of qualifying which takes place today and they enter at the second round stage. They have been placed into pot three, which means they have a chance of being competitive against most sides they will be up against. Obviously, a lot depends on the luck of the draw, which could change the outlook by making it seem better or worse.

Whatever the draw brings for Taiwan, this set of players will battle versus any team they come up against, win lose or draw because there is a togetherness around the squad that just wasn't there four years ago, and with the playing pool continuing to grow the future looks bright as Taiwan attempt to charge into the third round, which would also guarantee them a place in the 2023 Asian Cup finals as a Brucey Forsyth bonus, because the AFC double up the qualifying for both the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.

The draw is vital

As previously mentioned, Taiwan will find themselves in pot 3, when the draw takes place. This is the middle pot, meaning there is a huge scope for Taiwan to find themselves with a very strong or weak looking group. Ideally what we would prefer, would be to draw teams from roughly the same geographical region, because this will help when it comes to pulling in a crowd.

Looking at the pots, if we want to draw someone in closer proximity to Taiwan, then these are the teams we would need to draw:

Pot 1: Japan, South Korea or China
Pot 2: Vietnam
Pot 3: Taiwan is in this pot, so cannot draw another pot 3 team
Pot 4: Myanmar, Hong Kong, or Indonesia
Pot 5: Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos or Macau (Pots 4 and 5 are hard to know right now because the first round is not complete)

Any of these teams would be better for football in Taiwan, regardless of the level. Drawing Japan or South Korea would be the best possible outcome from a generating fan interest point of view. The West and Central Asian teams are mostly very good too, but the interest in them is minimal regardless of how good they are.

So to wrap things up, a lot clearly depends on the draw, however, Taiwanese football is still on the rise and the squad are quietly confident they can pull off a big surprise. The realistic aim is to target one of the four best runners up spots that will be on offer as entry to the second round because pot one teams all look very strong. One thing is for certain, any team who draws Taiwan and expects to walk over them are going to be in for a big shock.

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