The final games from group E at the AFC Asia Cup 2019 in Emirates gets underway on the 17th of January 2019. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have confirmed their places in the round of sixteen with two wins from two matches. Lebanon and North Korea would push for a victory to keep their qualification hopes alive. Let‘s foresee the possible scenarios and outcomes from group E.
Scenario 1 - If Saudi Arabia and North Korea win?
A victory for Saudi Arabia would undoubtedly place them on top of Group E. Spanish coach Juan Antonio Pizzi would expect the team to establish themselves as serious contenders for the title with a victory over Qatar. Qatar would qualify from the second spot. North Korea has had a disastrous 2019 Asia Cup, and a victory would be a massive boost through their qualification seems impossible with the negative goal difference of minus ten. Lebanon would wind up their campaign with three losses.
Position: Saudi Arabia 9 points, Qatar 6, North Korea 3, Lebanon 0.
Scenario 2 - If both the games from the group end in a draw?
The Maroons would go ahead of Saudi Arabia to set up a potential meeting with Iraq in the round of sixteen. Saudi Arabia would qualify as the second team from the group. A draw for the other two teams in the group will cause an automatic elimination from the competition.
Position: Qatar 7 points, Saudi Arabia 7, Lebanon 1, North Korea 1.
Scenario 3 - If Qatar and Lebanon win?
Spanish coach Felix Sanchez would feel proud of his wards if they can pull off a victory over the Greens. They would also pose themselves as genuine contenders for the title with that victory. Saudi Arabia may try out new combinations ahead of their match against Qatar as they may not mind playing against any team in the knockouts. Lebanon would require a minimum victory by two goals or more if they want to qualify as the third-best team. North Korea’s most disappointing performance at any Asia Cup would end with their third defeat in as many matches.
Position: Qatar 9 points, Saudi Arabia 6, Lebanon 3, North Korea 0.
Scenario 4 - If Saudi Arabia win and Lebanon and North Korea settle for a draw?
The Falcons would set up a potential match-up against a lively Iraqi team who held the top-ranked team in Asia to a draw in their final league game. Qatar would face either Japan or Uzbekistan in the round of sixteen. Both Lebanon and North Korea would wind up their campaign without a victory at Emirates 2019.
Position: Saudi Arabia 9 points, Qatar 6, Lebanon 1, North Korea 1.
Scenario 5 - If Saudi Arabia and Lebanon win?
Saudi Arabia qualifies into the round of sixteen on pole position with Qatar accompanying them as the second team. Unless Lebanon wins by a goal difference of two or more which looks more likely considering the lack of the form of the North Korean squad, they may find it difficult to qualify as the third best-placed team from the competition.
Position: Saudi Arabia 9 points, Qatar 6, Lebanon 3, North Korea 0.
Scenario 6 - If Saudi Arabia and Qatar settle for a draw and North Korea wins?
Qatar would become group leaders with a positive goal difference of eight compared to Saudi Arabia‘s six. North Korea’s would require a victory by a margin of eleven goals in their final match against Lebanon to ferry them a qualification spot in the knockouts.
Position: Qatar 7 points, Saudi Arabia 7, North Korea 3, Lebanon 0.
Scenario 7 - If Saudi Arabia and Qatar settle for a draw and Lebanon wins?
The Group E would wind up with Qatar heading the group followed by Saudi Arabia. Both teams would face tricky opponents in their next round setting up mouth-watering contests in the round of sixteen. Lebanon will boost their chances of qualifying if they run riot against the North Korean.
Position: Qatar 7 points, Saudi Arabia 7, Lebanon 3, North Korea 0.
Scenario 8 - If Qatar and North Korea win?
Qatar would command Group E at the top with a potential match-up against Iraq in the round of sixteen. Saudi Arabia will meet either Japan or Uzbekistan in the knockouts. Even if North Korea succeeds their chances of qualifying appears slim with a negative goal difference of ten. Lebanon would work on shaping the team for the 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers.
Position: Qatar 9 points, Saudi Arabia 6, North Korea 3, Lebanon 0.
Scenario 9 - If Qatar wins and North Korea and Lebanon draw their game?
Qatar would have ended the group stages on a high note after winning their final group game against three-time Champions Saudi Arabia who qualifies to the knockouts as the second team from the group. The competition winds up for Lebanon and North Korea as they prepare their sides for the 2023 Asia Cup.
Position: Qatar 9 points, Saudi Arabia 6, Lebanon 1, North Korea 1.
The Maroons have put themselves in pole position needing a draw to earn the prime spot in Group E with a superior goal difference of eight. A victory against Saudi Arabia would be a huge morale booster for the entire team. A defeat would qualify them from the second position in the group.
The Green Falcons would need a victory over Qatar to end their group phase as table-toppers. A draw or a defeat against Qatar would plunge them to the second spot in the group.
The Cedars and The Thousand-mile Horse have a relatively simple qualification criterion ahead of their final group matches. Both teams would need a victory to get the third qualifying spot among all other teams in the competition. North Korea would need an improbable victory in double digits to overcome their negative deficit on goal difference. A defeat or a draw would cause both teams exiting from the 2019 Asia Cup in Emirates.