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Nov 2011
11:35 Comments (10)
World Cup 2014 Qualifiers in Asia

Professional Football

David Serrano

The fourth round of matches in the third group stage of Asian qualification has already eliminated some teams from the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014. There was bad news for UAE, Indonesia, North Korea, Singapore, Tajikistan and Jose Antonio Camacho’s China who all won’t be going to the next World Cup, despite there being 2 games left.

The China team came up against Iraq in Doha because the home team could not guarantee the total security of the opposition. Jose Antonio Camacho against Zico, the Iraqi coach. If China lost they would be out of the competition. The match promised to be very interesting to football lovers – and it did not disappoint. The only thing was it did not have a big crowd but it was engaging until the last minute.

China had control of the game from the start taking more risks than Zico’s team. Camacho’s side decided to go for it and players like Zhao Xuri, Gao Lin, Liu Jianye or the sub who came on after the break, Wu Pingfeng were constantly contesting the Iraqi keeper Mohammed Kassid. The game progressed and Camacho’s team could not get the breakthrough. 0-0 was still lit up on the scoreboard in Doha. At the time China were pressurising the Iraqi goal they had a setback – the sending off of defender Zhang Lingpeng. When China were physically spent from their efforts throughout the match, Younis Mahmoud finished off a 92nd minute counter attack giving Iraq the three points and pulled away from China in the table. Group A sees Jordan already qualified for the second round.

In Group B, South Korea lead the group after beating the UAE 2-0 with goals from Lee Keun-Hoy and Park Chu Young, the ex-Monaco striker and recently signed by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Lebanon are second above Kuwait. This ends the UAE’s interest without any points.

So goalscorers in Alberto Zaccheroni’s team were striker, Shinji Okazaki who got two, Yasuyuki Konno and Ryoichi Maeda, to give a final scoreline of 4-0. What stood out was the performance of the Stuttgart striker Okazaki with his 2 goals, confirming his position as one of the best players in Asia at the moment.
Japan and Uzbekistan have booked their places in the next round, leaving the other 2 teams in the group, North Korea and Tajikistan, out of the competition. So North Korea, in the finals of the last World Cup 2010, will not be repeating their experiences in 2014.

Australia seem to have everything under control in Group D to go through to the next round. The Socceroos almost had the three points in the bag, but a motivated Oman team delayed their qualification. Amad Ali was responsible for beating the Australian keeper Schwarzer. Despite the defeat, Australia are still group leaders followed by Saudi Arabia. This ends Thailand and Oman’s hopes.

In Group E, it looks to be clearer now with Iran drawing on their visit to Bahrain. The performance of Iran captain, Javad Nekounam stood out. And Qatar beat Indonesia 4-0 with goals from Mohammed Razak, Ibrahim Khalfan with two, and Andres Quintana, a Uruguayan player with Qatari nationality who came through the youth teams of Uruguay’s Liverpool FC and then played in the Qatari U23 team. Iran and Qatar occupy the first two places followed by Bahrain leaving Indonesia mathematically eliminated.

10 Comments Send us your opinions
14/11/11 at 16:07:45 #1
Zhou Lin Biao
Mighty Coach Rafa! the Peoples Republic Of China was most unfortunate in the match versus Iraq,Gao Lin played most serenely. Do you see hope for the team of our esteemed land of peace and plenty in the next series?


You are right when you say that China was unlucky in the game against Iraq. Personally I think that everyone could see the spirit of solidarity, compromise, sacrifice and love for their country in the team. China is heading in the right direction and we believe that if they continue that way they will have success in the future.
14/11/11 at 16:26:54 #2
Jiang Dung Po
It was a silent celestial blow to the might of my country when we lost in the qualifying. A grievious blow to our manhood which must be put right the next time.My sadness is complete but the river will continue to erode the mighty mountain and one day the star will shine on the dragon of China.


Thanks for your comment. In sport as in life, sooner or later effort and sacrifice give rewards. Now it is the time to keep working and to be proud of the national team. If we look at the progression of the team in the last 15 years we cannot but praise how chinese football and its national team have improved.
24/12/11 at 18:13:51 #3
have you watche dthe game btwn saudi arabia and thailand? the referee was a disgrace to soccer referees. what do u think? get a clip from you tube.


Sorry I didn't see the game. Best wishes.
08/01/12 at 00:00:53 #4
Peter Rushton
This article makes for good reading, as does this site!
I remember getting Rafa's signature, is this really him and his website? Hopefully also his reply? 


Hello Peter, it is my website and I'm happy you like the articles. I will print another article for tomorrow.
08/01/12 at 00:06:37 #5
Ok RAFA, you uncovered Reina, Alonso, Lucas & many others so give us a scoop.....if you could pick any player from these games for your squad?We'll give you the grace of not having to sign a instant winner & G&H are gone so you wont be sacked! :-)So no risk but give us a hint who to watch?Who do your Scouts say buy?

RAFA we ready to cheer you at Anfield as boss.....when you ready!!! :-)


Hello, thanks for your confidence but at this moment I have to respect the scout system in charge, so I can't give any name. Best wishes.
08/01/12 at 00:38:45 #6
Dignity Clay
What do you think of the Iraqi national team under zico rafa? Good chance to progress to the world cup?


Led by Zico, the national team of Iraq is playing better and better. The technical knowledge are coming to the players. It is building a good foundation.

The team is still far to compete in a World Cup, but the last games against Jordan and China are to be optimistic. Above all, caring and trust in the star, Younis Mahmoud.
08/01/12 at 00:58:51 #7
Thanks for your analysis Rafa.

I have followed coach camacho for a while. From his days in A'Madrid, Real, Spain National team, Sporting in Portugal and now China. I have really look forward to see China in the world cup but its unfortunate that that will still remain a dream come 2014.

I believe and expect the Chinese FA to address some of the issues facing their game. When China qualify for the world cup in 1998, they have some known professional in Europe but that seem to have ceased. The local league should be developed and all the issues of match fixing currently been investigated must be concluded.

Rafa, am a Kop living in Nigeria. Am preparing for my first coaching certificate come Feb 2012 and you are one of the my role model. Lover your style and most especially your days at Anfield. Thank you for those nice moments you created for us such as the Istanbul night in 2005. We love you


Hello and thank you for your support Hismyel. Goog luck in the future with your coaching.
08/01/12 at 10:00:56 #8
Hi rafa, I am a kopite in India and I am deeply saddened by the state of the beautiful game in my country. Yet again we were no where near the qualification rounds and have miles to go before catching up with the Asian powers. The lack of infrastructure, the popularity of cricket, and bad politics is detrimenting the game here.. Would love an article/opinion from your side telling us how we can improve the state of the game in India.. Thanks... :-) 


Hello, could you explain to us about the structure and organization of football in India? We would like to know your vision. You can use the email
segaisuk@rafabenitez.com Thanks.
09/01/12 at 02:59:35 #9
Hi Rafa,
While most coaches are well known ex-players but there are a few exceptions such as Andre Villas-Boas who never played the game at a high level.
Do you believe you have to have been a professional (or at least semi-professional) footballer to be an effective coach at a high level?


Hello, Matt, If you know more about the game always it will be better. The problem when you play is if you analyse things, if you think about the game or just you play.
15/02/13 at 15:37:49 #10
what´s your opinion about Hajime Hosogai?


Sorry, at the moment I'm concentrated on games and I don't follow players. Thank you.