Before and after COVID-19: China's World Cup qualifying so far and what they need to do


The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) have announced the dates that they are hoping to re-start Asian World Cup qualifying on. Here we will have a rundown of all the teams from the EAFF (East Asian Football Confederation) and see how they have done so far before they resume their campaigns. First up is China, who are in qualifying group A. 

China made a solid start to qualifying in an easy group

China was drawn into a World Cup qualifying group that consisted of Syria, Philippines, Guam and the Maldives. Which prompted calls from watchers of Asian football of red envelopes passing hands ensuring an 'easy draw'.

However, China is still making heavy work of the group so far despite scoring a plunderous amount of goals, 13 in total in four matches. This sounds like a mighty feat, but the majority of those goals came against minnows Guam and the Maldives, scoring 7 and 5 respectively.

China's combined total of goals against Syria and the Philippines, on the other hand, stands at a solitary 1. That goal came in a 2-1 defeat against Syria, while they failed to find the back of the net away in the Philippines. Marcello Lippi, their famous Italian coach spat his dummy out after these two games claiming:

We could beat weaker opponents like Maldives (5-0 away) and Guam (7-0 at home), but when we encountered stronger teams like the Philippines (0-0 away) and Syria, we could not play our own football.
Since then China's campaign has been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted the world with lockdown's in place all over the world. Therefore, most sporting events have been put on hold or cancelled.

China must not lose to Syria and The Philippines

China will restart its campaign coming up against Maldives and Guam. These are two matches that they will win easily. The vital matches come up next for China, against Syria and The Philippines.

Both of these are at home, giving them a bit of edge, and something else that gives the side an edge is their mega goal difference. At the moment the GD stands at 11, this will hold China in good stead if they end up in the second spot when the group is finished, because of only 4 of the best runners up will make it into the next qualifying round. 

If they can somehow contrive to lose both home matches against Syria and the Philippines then it will be goodnight Vienna for the Chinese, as they would end up finishing 3rd in the group, and not even have the safety net of the best runner up to help them out anymore. 

The one saving grace is that both those matches are at home, and even if they drop points in one game, it is difficult to see them losing two home matches on the bounce. If that were to happen the Philippines would pip them to the second spot in the group, but in a cruel twist of events, could still miss out on the second round themselves because their goal difference is so poor compared to that of China's and Syria's. 

The next round of games are now scheduled to take place on:

8th October vs Maldives (home)
13th October vs Guam (away - in Buriram, Thailand because of America's COVID-19 restrictions - this is subject to change). 

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