You may have noticed we failed to discuss the second leg of China vs. Laos. That’s because there are few things I could care less about. In the pantheon of things I care about, it falls somewhere between cricket and Justin Bieber’s hair, meaning it’s not making the top 100. China was always going to beat Laos. China’s blind footballers could probably beat Laos and they only allow 5 men on the pitch. Plus, you know, they’re blind. Suffice to say, China’s leg two 6-0 drubbing of Laos was no surprise and meant the team won 13-2 on aggregate, advancing to the next round of qualification.
Those two matches, however, were an important means to an end, meaning China advanced to the next round of qualification. For the 20 Asian teams that qualified, each were placed in 4 bowls based on their FIFA rankings, meaning China was in the first bowl (they are the fifth highest ranked Asian team). We can talk about the ludacriousness of FIFA rankings that sees North Korea in bowl 4 solely because they
can’t don’t play any friendlies. The first bowl was the final one to be chosen from and the CCTV-5 pundits were openly hoping China would be the first team drawn, they got their wish. China is in Group A, which looks like this:
- China PR
In the 3rd round, the top two teams in each group advance to a further group stage where the 10 teams are divided into two groups, the top two sides in each group go to Brazil 2014, the two 3rd place sides play each other with the winner going on to a playoff against another confederation for a spot at the World Cup.
The other groups are as follows:
|Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E|
From the looks of things, Group C is the obvious “Group of Death”, North Korea is most certainly not a “bowl 4” team and Uzbekistan showed their quality at the last Asian Cup. Of all the options, Group D wouldn’t have been a bad place for China to have fallen into, but, all things considered, they are in arguably the easiest group and should have a pretty clear cut path to advancing to the next round. That said, if anyone can screw it up, China could find a way to.
Here’s the schedule of China’s qualifiers, you’ll be sure to find more about them as we get closer to the matches:
Good luck to Team China, I hope to be spending the summer of 2014 watching them in Brazil! Tomorrow, we’ll talk about China’s coaching uncertainty going into qualifying.
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