GOAL takes a look at how can India progress to the Asian Cup qualifying third round as one of the best-fourth ranked teams…
India’s 2-0 victory over Bangladesh has handed them a major boost in their bid to finish third in the group, which would see them progress to the 2023 Asian Cup qualifying third round. They are currently placed third in the group with six points from seven matches.
However, if the Blue Tigers lose to Afghanistan they will be relegated to the fourth position, in the worst-case scenario. Can they still qualify for the Asian Cup qualifying third round? Let’s find out.
The qualification rule states that the four best fourth-placed teams across all groups will advance to the Asian Cup qualifying third round. The remaining four fourth-placed teams will advance to the Asian Cup qualifying play-off round.
Let us now have a look at the standings in each of the eight groups which will give us a clearer picture of India’s chances.
In Group A, Maldives are fourth-placed with six points and a goal difference of -13. Their next match is against Philippines. However, irrespective of the result, their position will remain unchanged but they will make a stronger case for the best fourth-placed team with more points in their kitty.
Nepal has finished on the fourth spot and there will be no further alteration.
In Group C, Hong Kong will finish in the fourth spot. They are set to face Bahrain in their last match. They drew against Bahrain in the reverse fixture. If they replicate their results they will finish on six points, same as India’s current tally. But the Blue Tigers have a superior goal difference.
Three teams in Group D are locked in an intense battle for the third and fourth position. In their final match, Palestine will face Yemen. Yemen had beaten Palestine in their previous encounter and if they do so again they will climb to the third spot. Then Palestine will drop to the fourth spot pushing Singapore to the bottom. However, if it ends in a draw, then the table will remain the same.
It is pretty straightforward for India in Group E. If they manage to avoid a loss against the Afghans they will finish on the third spot. If they lose they will be relegated to the fourth spot.
Mongolia are fourth-placed fourth in Group F. However, Myanmar can climb to the fourth spot if they manage to get a draw against Tajikistan.
Group G is also nicely poised as Thailand and Malaysia are in a close fight for the third spot. All eyes will be on the final group match between Thailand and Malaysia, which will potentially decide the final standings.
|5||DPR Korea (W)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
DPR Korea has withdrawn from the competition and hence it has been decided by AFC (Asian Football Confederation) that the results of all DPR Korea matches will be null and void. Hence, Sri Lanka will finish on the fourth spot.
How do the fourth-placed teams rank currently?
India have six points from seven games with a goal difference of -1. If the Blue Tigers lose against Afghanistan then they will still qualify for the AFC Cup third round by virtue of being placed within the top four of the four-placed ranked teams, given that Hong Kong do not get more than a point in their last game. They play Bahrain on Tuesday.
In that case, Nepal and Mongolia will further drop from their respective positions.