Now that the AFC Asian Cup Draw has concluded, it’s time to take an initial look at how teams fared. Between now and the finals, teams will move up and down our rankings, but this is how things look as of today. While the AFC Challenge Cup winner remains unknown for the time being, that participant doesn’t appear to be saddled with too difficult a group. We’ve run our simulator xCRO to project how each group will finish. Results are below.
By far the most difficult of all groups to navigate, the host nation was done no favors. This group features our highest ranked teams from Pots 2, 3, and 4. And for good measure, our highest team in the whole tournamnent gets to play their matches on home soil. This is one of the most stacked groups we’ve seen since the inception of this site. While it is a tough group, it is fair. We rank the teams exactly in the order they were drawn. Normally, the odds would be closer, but with the home advantage, our predictor gives the hosts around an 80% chance to finish top of the group. We like Korea Republic to finish 2nd and Oman and Kuwait to be very close for 3rd, with a slight edge to Oman. We think Australia has a 96% chance to advance, while Korea has a 64% chance to survive the group stage.
Unlike Group A, this Group got off very easy. The Uzbeks got a fantastic draw with our lowest ranked team from Pots 2 and 3. They also got Korea DPR, who is only ahead of the future Challenge Cup winner in our rankings. We really like Uzbekistan to finish top of the group, with over a 67% chance. We also think there’s almost a 90% chance that they advance to the knockout stage. After that, however, things get a little more hairy. No team has a real edge, as the other 3 teams are separated by only 15 places and 0.4 goals in our rankings. None of the other teams are even remotely close to home, so it is a true toss up. Each has less than a 50% chance of advancing. We give the slight edge to Saudi Arabia, with China just behind them. It would be a little surprising to see Korea DPR get into advancing position.
This should be the most interesting of all the groups when it comes to finishing top of the group. Iran and UAE should be virtually even while Qatar and Bahrain likewise are very even. If you’re looking for a team from Pot 2 to emerge as victor of a group, it’s likely UAE here. None of these teams have even reached the semifinals in the previous two editions of the tournament, so it will be interesting to see if any of them get some pre-match anxiety. We give Iran and UAE each about a 70% chance to advance, while Qatar and Bahrain each sit right around 30%. Expect this to certainly come down to the final matchday.
In the final group, we certainly have a favorite. Japan drew pretty well and should be happy with their opposition. Jordan and Iraq were right in the middle of our rankings for Pots 2 and 3. The AFC Challenge Cup winner will be our lowest ranked team in the tournament regardless of who advances. We wouldn’t be surprised at all if this group shakes out like Group A exactly in the order it was drawn. We have Japan as an overwhelming favorite to finish top of the group, and give them almost a 99% chance of advancing to the knockout stage. Jordan and Iraq should be in a battle for second, but we give Jordan a pretty decent edge. Our apologies to the Challenge Cup victor, as we think it will be an uphill battle to progress past the group stage.
|Challenge Cup Winner||0.2%||5.7%||22.6%||71.5%|
How do you think the Asian Cup will shake out? Feel free to comment below or reach out to us on Twitter @We_Global. As always, thanks for reading.