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Preview Group A final round: Thailand in shambles, broad chance for Australia

Preview Group A final round: Thailand in shambles, broad chance for Australia

Stepping into the final matchday, all 4 teams of Group A in the AFC U23 Championship 2020 still have the chance to qualify, bringing much excitement to the final matches.

After making an impressive entrance, the host Thailand bowed down to the much more organized Australian side, leaving them insecure in the final match.

Thailand U23 started out the game strong, supported by over 22 thousand people. They got the upper hand after a tap-in from Anon Amornlerdsak at the 24th minute. But 2 goals in the second half by D'Agostino sealed a much-needed victory for Australia, and also the top spot from their opponent.

The loss makes Thailand’s chances to advance a little more daunting, as they will face a valiant Iraq U23 – who have 2 points after 2 matches. Iraq heroically saved a 2-2 draw in the 92nd minute against Bahrain U23 at the earlier match.

The host Thailand will automatically advance to the next round should they win or draw against Iraq. If they can only gain 1 point, and Bahrain can make it through by winning against Australia and even the points, in that case, Thailand will still advance since the rule ranks “Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams” above goals difference, in which Thailand won 5-0 against Bahrain.

But in the worst-case scenario, which Iraq overcomes Thailand, it will be Australia and Iraq who will qualify for the next stage, and bring embarrassment of elimination to the host.  

As for Australia, a draw will help them qualify, let alone a victory to secure the 1st place. But in case they lose against Bahrain, they can only advance if Thailand and Iraq settle for a draw. If either team wins, Australia will be eliminated.

Iraq will step into the match against the host Thailand will only 3 points and an advancing ticket in mind. Either a draw or a loss will automatically send them home.

Bahrain has the smallest chance of qualifying. They will have to overcome a mighty Australia who hasn’t lost in the whole tournament. Should Bahrain U23 win, they will advance by head-to-head rule, as both Bahrain and Australia have the same amount of points. Much like Iraq, either a draw or a loss will automatically send them home.

Both final matches of group A - 2020 AFC U23 Championship will be played at 21:15 pm (GMT+8 time), with Thailand U23 vs Iraq U23 match at the Rajamangala Stadium, and Australia U23 vs Bahrain U23 at the Thammasat Stadium.