Six teams from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have qualified for the World Cup for the first time in the event’s history.
While Qatar had already qualified as the tournament’s hosts, Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Japan advanced.
When Australia defeated Peru on penalties in the intercontinental play-off, they added six Asian teams to Qatar 2022!
(Australia plays in Asian Football Confederation!)
It is only fitting that this development occurs when Qatar from Asia prepares to host the World Cup in the continent for the second time ever.
This is a new era for Asian football.
To put it into perspective, South Korea and Japan hosted the World Cup for the first time in Asia in 2002.
At the time, Asian teams were looked upon as pushovers, but that tournament cemented their place on the footballing map. Fans all over the world were drawn to Japan and South Korea’s vibrant, competitive football.
From a group that included teams like Russia, Tunisia, and Belgium, Japan advanced to the Round of 16 without losing a match. They actually finished first in their group with 7 points.
Japan lost to eventual semifinalist Turkey in the Round of 16 match.
On the other hand, South Korea had a fantastic run to the semifinals. They triumphed over a group that also included Poland, the USA, and Portugal.
During their group stage campaign, they famously defeated Portugal.
Guus Hiddink’s Korean team went on to defeat Italy in the Round of 16 before shocking Spain in the quarterfinals. Germany then defeated them by a razor-thin margin in the semifinals!
While the first World Cup in Asia put Asian football on the continental map, the second World Cup in Asia, could see the rise of Asian football.
And we are already seeing the rise of Asian football in match day 1!
At the time of writing, there have already been two upsets in the World Cup so far.
Both were caused by Asian teams!
Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina, who came from behind to defeat Messi’s side.
Argentina led in the first half via a dubious Messi penalty, but Saudi Arabia scored two quick goals early in the second half.
After that, they defended for their lives, and won the match!
On the other hand, Japan shocked Germany, who have made it a habit to lose to Asian teams!
(Germany was knocked out by South Korea in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup)
The script of this one is surprisingly similar to the upset Saudi Arabia caused over Argentina.
Ilkay Gundogan converted a penalty for Germany at the half-hour mark, but that was that.
Japan equalized around the 70th min and then took the lead 10 minutes later.
Germany lost the match because they were wasteful. They dominated every statistic except for the one that mattered!
Just like Saudi Arabia, Japan defended like their lives depended on it, but they were also lucky at times!
But maybe luck is what one needs if one wants to go all the way!
If an Asian team was to win the World Cup, they will need huge chunks of fortune to go their way!
But if they do get it…
Can any Asian team go all the way?!
There is Japan there who nearly defeated Belgium the last time around in the Round of 16 and then there is South Korea with Heung-min Son leading them.
In my opinion, if there is any time that can pull off the impossible, it would have to be someone from these two!
With that said, let’s look at the outright odds of the 6 Asian teams playing in this World Cup!
World Cup 2022 Outright Odds (Asian teams)
Japan are the most likely to win among the Asian teams, with odds of 101.00.
Plus, their upset over Germany helps those odds!
South Korea are the second favorites to win the World Cup from Asia, with odds of 276.00.
So the market seems to agree with me that the best chance Asia got rests with Japan and South Korea!
In at third, fresh off their victory over Argentina, are Saudi Arabia with the odds of winning standing at 326.00!
Australia winning the World Cup has the odds of 626.00 while those of Iran are even worse off at 876.00.
Hosts Qatar are the least likely Asian team to win the World Cup with odds of 1376.00!
Just a reminder that the market will fluctuate as the tournament goes on!
At the time of writing, Japan and Saudi Arabia both won their matches and South Korea is yet to play.
Iran, Qatar, and Australia have lost their opening matches.
The odds reflect exactly that!