After all of Asia’s direct qualification cards to the World Cup final have been settled, the UAE and Iraq will battle it out in the final round to hold on to hope of advancing through the qualifiers and attempting to reach the final. after a long absence.
Australia have been confirmed from Group B to the playoffs, after taking third place behind Japan and Saudi Arabia, and will be hoping for third place from Group A, with the winner qualifying for another playoff against the fifth-place South American appearing in Qatar.
The United Arab Emirates, who participated once in the World Cup in 1990, are third in Group A, but will face a tough matchup against South Korea, whose qualification was confirmed alongside Iran.
Coach Rodolfo Arruabarina’s side are a point ahead of fourth-placed Iraq, who play Syria on the final day of the group, with both games kicking off at the same time in Dubai.
Iraq achieved its first victory at this stage of the qualifiers, beating the Emirates, where Abdul Ghani Shahd became the third manager to manage the team in nine matches, after Dick Advocaat and Zeljko Petrovic.
This victory put Iraq one point behind the United Arab Emirates and revived hopes of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Lebanon has little chance of clinching third place, but coach Ivan Hashek’s team needs to win a host of goals over Iran, while hoping Iraq and the United Arab Emirates lose.
The Asian playoff will take place in Qatar on June 7, with the winner playing either Peru, Colombia or Chile a week later for an additional ticket to perform in Qatar.