Asia World Cup qualifying times in UAE + TV: Tim Cahill looms for Japan, Qatar on the brink
Asian World Cup qualifying matches in UAE time, TV info
• Australia v Japan, 1pm, beIN Sports 1HD
• Iraq v Thailand, 4.30pm, beIN Sports 1HD
• Uzbekistan v China, 5pm, beIN Sports 2HD
• Iran v South Korea, 6.45pm
• Qatar v Syria, 8pm, beIN Sports 2HD
• Saudi Arabia v UAE, 9.45pm
The Tim Cahill factor threatens Japan’s hopes of re-energising their World Cup campaign in a crucial qualifier against Australia in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Talismanic Cahill is in line for a recall for the Socceroos against the Blue Samurai in the Asia qualifying Group B encounter after playing only a few minutes as a substitute in Australia’s 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia in Jeddah last week.
It is also an important night elsewhere in Asia with China desperately needing a win against Uzbekistan in Group A in Tashkent to keep their faint hopes alive and the so far point-less 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar at home to Syria.
The Saudis again have home advantage against Gulf rivals UAE in a match with heavy implications for the top of Group B, while Tehran hosts an inter-group double-header with Iraq and Thailand seeking their first points in an afternoon game in the Iranian capital.
UAE v Saudi Arabia
• John McAuley: Omar Abdulrahman must take charge in Jeddah
• Crucial contest: Scouting report and past five meetings review
Iran and South Korea are protecting their unbeaten starts to the Asian campaign in the evening kick-off.
Japan hold a winning 8-7 record over reigning Asian Cup champions Australia, but they have had problems preventing the mercurial Cahill from scoring against them.
Cahill, 36, who has returned home to play in the A-League with Melbourne City after 18 years plying his trade overseas, has scored five of his 48 international goals against the Japanese.
His scoring record against them could sway manager Ange Postecoglou to start him after late substitute appearances in the last two Russia 2018 qualifiers.
“We’ll be ready against Japan and looking forward to it. I’m here ready if I start or don’t start and we all have to be,” Cahill said.
“I got five minutes (against Saudi) and I’ve got some amazing memories to score a lot of goals against these Asian teams.”
Australia and Saudi Arabia lead Group B with seven points. Japan and the UAE are one point behind in the race for the two automatic World Cup qualifying spots.
Qatar meanwhile face the very real prospect of becoming the first nation to host a World Cup without having previously competed in the finals.
Another defeat on Tuesday by Syria, who last week upset China 1-0, would all but end Qatar’s chances of qualifying for their first World Cup in Russia in 2018, four years before they host the 2022 tournament.
Qatar manager Jorge Fossati, who was hired last month in a bid to revive their fading hopes of qualifying, is still hopeful his team can make it.
“I know the excitement of the people of this country. I’ve always said qualifying for the Russia World Cup is very tough,” Fossati told the Doha Stadium magazine on Monday.
“But if we play with full concentration, then we’ve the possibility to win. There are technical and tactical details about Tuesday’s game, but the most important will be mentality,” he said.
And for China, it is make-or-break time after they were stunned 1-0 at home by war-ravaged Syria earlier this week, dropping them to fifth in Group A.
China, ranked 78, have ambitions of hosting and even winning a World Cup, but have regularly foundered in their qualifying campaigns and face the Uzbeks, who have already beaten Syria and Qatar.
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Updated: October 10, 2016 04:00 AM