The last league game in Group B of the AFC Asia Cup 2019 gets underway on the 15th of January 2019. Jordan have already secured their qualification as group leaders. Let us take a look at the possible scenarios that can change the complexion of the group.
Scenario 1 - If Australia and Jordan win?
If both the above teams win, it will cause a clear pathway for Australia to enter the round of sixteen. Jordan have already topped Group B after they recorded a crucial victory over the Socceroos. Syria will finish in the third place with one point, which will put them in a difficult spot to qualify as the third-best team. Palestine would wind up their Asia Cup campaign with their second defeat in succession.
Position: Jordan 9 points, Australia 6, Syria 1, Palestine 1.
Scenario 2 - If both the games end in a draw?
If both the games end in a stalemate, the scenario will look similar to the one above with Australia and Jordan qualifying to the next stage. Syria will enjoy better chances to qualify as the third best team if they can restrict the Australians from scoring. Palestine would represent the second country behind India to exit the competition.
Position: Jordan 7 points, Australia 4, Syria 2, Palestine 2.
Scenario 3 - If Syria and Palestine win?
Well if the above result happens, then the defending Champions will get knocked out of the competition with Syria qualifying as the second team. Palestine will receive a major boost with four points in their kitty which could place them through to the round of sixteen.
Position: Jordan 6, Syria 4, Palestine 4, Australia 3.
Scenario 4 - If Jordan win and Australia and Syria settle for a draw?
Australia would qualify as the second team in the competition, but a draw for Syria would affect their chances of qualifying as the third best-placed team. Palestine would require nothing less than a victory to cherish any hopes of qualification.
Position: Jordan 9 points, Australia 4, Syria 2, Palestine 1.
Scenario 5 - If Jordan and Syria win?
Jordan enjoy their position at the top after working their way to victory against the two best sides in their group in their initial two matches. Syria will put the defending Champions in trouble by qualifying from the second spot. Australia would look to qualify as the third-best placed team. Palestine's competition will conclude without a victory at the 2019 Asia Cup.
Position: Jordan 9 points, Syria 4, Australia 3, Palestine 1.
Scenario 6 - If Jordan draw and Australia win?
Jordan and Australia qualify with ease as the two leading teams from the group. However, Syria would exit from the competition leaving Palestine with a semblance of a chance to go through as the third best-placed team.
Position: Jordan 7 points, Australia 6, Palestine 2, Syria 1.
Scenario 7 - If Jordan draw and Syria win?
Syria will overtake Australia to book a place in the round of sixteen. Australia needs to wait longer for the other matches to finish to find if they qualify for the knockouts. Palestine, however, will leave the competition with two points from their three matches.
Position: Jordan 7 points, Syria 4, Australia 3, Palestine 2.
Scenario 8 - If Palestine and Australia win?
Australia will match the Jordanians with six points but would be in the second spot after losing to them in the first game of the Asia Cup. Palestine will receive a massive boost tallying four points which can sway them through to the round of sixteen as one of the four best third-placed teams in the competition. Syria will yet again need to exit after the group stages.
Position: Jordan 6 points, Australia 6, Palestine 4, Syria 1.
Scenario 9 - If Palestine win and Syria and Australia draw their group game?
Australia and Palestine will be on four points each with Australia progressing into the knockouts after their 3-0 demolition of Palestine. However, Palestine’s four points would ideally place them in pole position to qualify as the third best-placed team in the competition. Syria’s campaign would end on a disappointing note with two points from three games.
Position: Jordan 6 points, Australia 4, Palestine 4, Syria 2.
With the above explanation, we can conclude Jordan have already qualified in the first position with a game to spare and can start their preparations to work on new combinations and tactics ahead of their match against Palestine.
Australia would seek a win or a draw from their last game to reserve a place as the second-placed team. However, they would try to attack and command the ball possession, unlike the Indian team which encountered a similar situation but adopted a poor tactic and succumbed to the mounting pressure.
A victory for Syria would book them a placed in the knockouts. Any other result would put their qualification hopes on hold as they would await the results from the other games.
Even a victory for Palestine in their last game would make them rely upon the other games in the competition as they can only finish as the third best-placed team to reserve a place in the knockouts.
Tuesday, 15 January 2019: Palestine (99) vs Jordan (109) - Al-Maktoum Stadium, Dubai at 19:00 IST.
Tuesday, 15 January 2019: Syria (74) vs Australia (41) - Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 19:00 IST.