Chinese soccer is at the red light to qualify for its first World Cup in 24 years. The team is hoping to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North and Central America, but the prospects aren’t promising. There is a lot of skepticism in China. The draw for the third round of Asian qualifiers was very poor.

China was drawn in Group C in the third round of Asian qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was one of five ports in the third qualifying round and was drawn with Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Indonesia. As the bottom five out of six ports, they were destined to face the stronger teams in the first place. However, the pressure became even more intense as they faced opponents that were strong enough to be considered the ‘Group of Death’.

2026 North and Central American World Cup Asia Pacific 3rd 토토사이트 Qualifying Groupings

  • Group A – Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, UAE, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea
  • Group B – South Korea, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Kuwait
  • Group C – Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China, Indonesia

Japan, Australia, and Saudi Arabia are some of Asia’s biggest powers. Bahrain has been dubbed the “double-header of the Middle East,” while Indonesia has been on a meteoric rise since Shin Tae-yong took over as head coach. None of these teams are easy for China. To put it bluntly, finishing first or second in the tournament, which is a direct ticket to the knockout stages, looks very difficult, and finishing fourth, which is the cut-off point for the fourth qualifying round, is also not easy.

Four years ago, China finished in Group B at the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. At that time, 12 nations qualified for the Asian final. They were divided into two groups of six nations. The first and second-place teams in each group advanced directly to the main tournament. The third-place finishers played a playoff to determine the final three Asian teams. In Group A, Iran and South Korea punched their tickets to the knockout stage, while Saudi Arabia and Japan qualified from Group B.

China finished fifth in Group B with one win, three draws, and six losses for six points. They were limited to nine goals scored and 19 goals conceded. They were well behind third-place Australia (15 points). The third-place Group B finishers advanced to the intercontinental playoffs with a 2-1 win over the third-place Group A finishers, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Socceroos advanced to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over South America’s Peru after a 0-0 draw.

The 2026 North and Central American World Cup will feature 48 nations. There are 8.33 tickets to the tournament for the Asian continent. Chinese fans were excited to see the number of teams qualifying for the tournament increase dramatically, giving China a chance. But after being drawn in the ‘Group C of Death’ in the third round of Asian qualifiers, they are sighing. Some have suggested that the team should just calmly aim for fourth place in the group.

China will open the third qualifying round with an away first leg against Japan on Sept. 5. On October 9, they will play Saudi Arabia at home for the second match, followed by Australia on October 10 for the third match. From the start, they will face the strongest teams in Group C. They need to show promise in the first three games to have any chance of qualifying for the fourth round. If they collapse in the first three games, their dreams of qualifying for the World Cup will be far away.

I’ve been to the World Cup once before. I represented Asia at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. It was at the World Cup that I realized the high barriers of the world. They were in Group C and lost all three games. They lost 0-2 to Costa Rica, 0-4 to Brazil, and 0-3 to Turkiye. They finished last in the group with nine goals scored and nine conceded. They are ranked 31st out of 32 qualifying nations. The team has its sights set on qualifying for the 2026 North and Central American World Cup, its first in 24 years, but the mountain to climb feels high.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.