Australian players celebrate after winning a penalty shootout against Peru

AAustralia’s victory over Peru in this week’s intercontinental playoffs guarantees six unprecedented teams from the Asian Football Confederation at the World Cup and gives them the opportunity to repeat the 2002 success of their first football marquee event. Gave to the continent.

South Korea reached the semi-finals and Japan reached the 16th round when they co-sponsored the tournament in 2002, but since then Asia has underperformed in all editions.

In the first World Cup in the Middle East, 13 Europe will be the only continent with more teams.

Hosting in Qatar from November 21st to December. Eighteen tournaments have been added to the usual four automatic qualifying spots in Asia filled by Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran and South Korea.

“This is certainly an Asian era, and there is no better way to emphasize this celebration than to qualify for the first-ever record six teams at the FIFA World Cup,” said Sheikh Salmanbin Ibrahim of the Asian Football Confederation. Alharifa said. .. He hopes that 2022 will show a significant improvement over the performance of Asia in 2018.

With just over five months left, the signs are mixed.

Japan was shaped as the highest hope. A slight 1-0 defeat at home to Brazil on June 6 was sandwiched between a 4-1 victory in Paraguay and Ghana. But on Tuesday, Hajime Moriyasu’s men lost to Tunisia 3-0 at home.

Japan will start and end Group E with Germany and Spain in a middle game against Costa Rica, which beat New Zealand yesterday in a Qatar draw.

Saudi Arabia beat Japan and Australia in qualifying, but lost to Colombia and Venezuela, who did not qualify from South America earlier this month. It leaves Saudi Arabia’s first Group C game against Argentina, which looks ominous.

Iran will have to play Group B against England, the United States and Wales, but since winning the qualifying, the team’s only match was on Monday in Doha’s Algeria, losing 2-1. The Qatar team, who has never played in the World Cup, has not seen any international action.

Australians are up and down. After winning 11 consecutive Asian qualifiers in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, Socceroos finished 3rd in the group with 1 win in 7 games.

Socceroos beat the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in the Asian playoffs last week. Six days later, at the same stadium in Qatar, Socceroos entered the World Cup for the fifth straight victory after winning a 5-4 penalty over South America’s fifth-placed team Peru.

The reward is the location of Group D and will face defending champions France, Tunisia and Denmark.

South Korea, who participated in the 10th consecutive World Cup, lost to Brazil 5 to 1 in Seoul on June 2, and started to accumulate. Egypt 4-1.

The Koreans, who defeated Poland, Portugal, Italy and Spain in a remarkable run to the semi-finals at home in 2002, will face Qatar’s Uruguay, Portugal and Ghana in Group H.

South Korea coach Paulo Bento said, “The biggest positive point is how the players reacted to Chile and counterattacked Paraguay 2-0 after losing to Brazil.” .. “I still have something to do.” JOHN DUERDEN, Soul, MDT / AP

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