Once drums stopped rolling, the draw results were out on display. Twelve hopefuls got to know their fixtures in their quest to advance to FIFA World Cup 2018 finals.
Twelve teams were drawn into two groups. Top two teams qualify directly to 2018 World Cup, while the two third-placed teams will clash in a two-legged play-off for the right to play the fourth-ranked CONCACAF nation.
In Group A, an old rivalry between Iran and South Korea heats up as they are grouped together, along with Uzbekistan, Syria, Qatar and China.
In this article, we will review each team in Group A and analyze their chances of qualifying to 2018 World Cup games.
South Korea: The most successful Asian team in terms of their World Cup appearances, are now being led by the German team, Uli Stielike. South Koreans have participated in nine World Cup editions. In the last edition of World Cup qualifiers, Iran, South Korea,Uzbekistan and Qatar-The same teams that are grouped now- were also grouped together that only Iran and South Korea made it to the Finals. In the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, South Korea advanced as runners-up behind Iran. Although in 2014 World Cup Finals, they recorded dismal results, hence their change of coach. In the recent months, South Korea defeated Kuwait,Lebanon, Myanmar and Laos without conceding a goal. In preparation for facing their Asian rivals in Group A, South Koreans have also lined up games against Spain and Czech before September.
South Korea remains a strong candidate to qualify directly to World Cup 2018 from Group A. The question is whether as group leaders or as runner-up.