AFC 2014 World Cup qualifying: Automatic qualifiers to be decided

Amin M. Jamali

There's much at stake in the Asian qualifiers, with three automatic qualifications spots to be determined in the final round of group games.

Group A

South Korea vs. Iran

8 a.m. ET, 9 p.m. local

South Korea haven't mathematically guaranteed their place in next year's World Cup but they'll almost certainly qualify automatically, even if they lose against Iran. In that instance they'd finish second in the group, unless Uzbekistan beat Qatar and overhaul the six goal buffer they have on goal differential, therefore pushing them down into a playoff place. But that probably won't happen, with just a draw enough to see the South Koreans guarantee automatic qualification. A point would probably be enough for Iran too, with their four goal advantage over Uzbekistan looking like it will shield them, though a defeat combined with an Uzbekistan win would drop them into the dreaded playoffs.

Uzbekistan vs. Qatar

8 a.m. ET, 5 p.m. local

It's a simple task for Uzbekistan. They're guaranteed at least a playoff place, and so really don't have much to lose. They must beat Qatar -- the side directly below them in the group and who are mathematically out of the race to Brazil -- if they're to give themselves any chance of automatic qualification.

Group B

Australia vs. Iraq

5:30 a.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. local

Australia's World Cup qualification quest has been a bit more difficult that they would've liked, though with an emphatic win over Jordan in their last match, they've clawed their way up into second place. A win over bottom side Iraq -- who have only pride to play for -- would guarantee qualification, though anything else would give Oman a chance of usurping them a few hours later.

Jordan vs. Oman

12 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. local

Oman are currently in the playoff place, a place and a point below Australia and a place and a couple of points above Jordan. That makes this the single most exciting game of the round, with both teams having it all to play for. If Australia fail to win, a victory for Oman would see them leapfrog the Socceroos into second place, while Jordan know they must win to make the playoffs -- though their comparatively terrible goal differential means automatic qualification is pretty much impossible.

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