AFC 1990 Qualification

The AFC section of the Italia ’90 qualification consisted of a first round phase and a final round section. Split into six groups, five groups consisting of four teams and one of five, the total of 25 contestants would play out round robin-concepted mini-leagues, where the top placed team would proceed through to the final round. This meant that six teams would ultimately battle it out over two available World Cup slots.

In the final round, those six teams would gather in Singapore, and thus play out the final group stage on neutral ground, with each team facing each other just the once. 

The Maldives had withdrawn even prior to the group stage draws. Following the draw, a further three nations withdrew: Bahrain (Group 2), South Yemen (Group 3) and India (Group 4), leaving a total of 22 teams to battle it out in the first phase. 

This section would commence on 6 January 1989, with the final fixture taking place on 29 July. 

The final qualification stage would be played out over a hectic 16 days period, from October 12-28. 

Group 1

Iraq
Jordan
Oman
Qatar

Group 2

North Yemen
Saudi Arabia
Syria
   

Group 3

Kuwait
Pakistan
United Arab Emirates
    

Group 4

Malaysia
Nepal
Singapore
South Korea

Group 5

Bangladesh
China
Iran
Thailand

Group 6

Hong Kong
Indonesia
Japan
North Korea

Results

Group 1

06.01.89: Oman-Iraq 1-1
06.01.89: Qatar-Jordan 1-0
13.01.89: Jordan-Iraq 0-1 (Goal)
13.01.89: Oman-Qatar 0-0
20.01.89: Jordan-Oman 2-0
20.01.89: Qatar-Iraq 1-0
27.01.89: Iraq-Oman 3-1 (Goals)
27.01.89: Jordan-Qatar 1-1 (Goals)
03.02.89: Iraq-Jordan 4-0 (Goals)
03.02.89: Qatar-Oman 3-0 
10.02.89: Iraq-Qatar 2-2 (Goals
10.02.89: Oman-Jordan 0-2

  1. Qatar 6 3 3 0 8-3 9
    ………………………….
  2. Iraq 6 3 2 1 11-5 8
  3. Jordan 6 2 1 3 5-7 5
  4. Oman 6 0 2 4 2-11 2

Comment: Qatar secured progress to the final group stage thanks to a leveller five minutes from time in the final qualifier in Baghdad, where an estimated 50,000 strong crowd had tried to spur the home side on. Had they held on to their 2-1 lead at that point, the Iraqis would’ve advanced. Qatar followed the famous recipe of winning their home ties and drawing away from home, with that 1-0 win against Iraq proving decisive. They also scored decisive goals inside the final ten minutes in three of their matches to boost their points tally. Jordan twice beat Oman to claim third spot, but had lost both matches against Iraq, and drawing at home to Qatar to gain their solitary point from four outings against the top 2. 

Leading goalscorers: Ahmad Radhi Amaiesh Al-Salehi (Iraq) 6, Mahmoud Yaseen Soufi (Qatar – aged 17!) 5

Group 2

10.03.89: North Yemen-Syria 0-1
15.03.89: Saudi Arabia-Syria 5-4 (Goals)
20.03.89: North Yemen-Saudi Arabia 0-1 (Goal)
25.03.89: Syria-North Yemen 2-0 (first goal)
30.03.89: Syria-Saudi Arabia 0-0
05.04.89: Saudi Arabia-North Yemen 1-0 (Goal)

  1. Saudi Arabia 4 3 1 0 7-4 7
    ……………………………………
  2. Syria 4 2 1 1 7-5 5
  3. North Yemen 4 0 0 4 0-5 0

Comment: This group was concluded within the time span of a month, and Saudi Arabia had gained early control with that sensational 5-4 home win against challengers Syria, who had begun their campaign with a win in Sana’a. In Jeddah, where the Saudis were playing their home matches, the winning goal among the nine had come following an initial penalty save from the visiting ‘keeper. Saudi Arabia then won it late in North Yemen, while they managed to contain Syria in front of some 40,000 fans in Latakia in the group decider. Ultimately, a point in their final match, at home to pointless North Yemen, had sufficed to see the Saudis through to the final qualification group stage. They won it courtesy of a goal late in the first half. Plenty of headed goals in this group!

Leading goalscorers: Nizar Mahrous (Syria) 2, Majed Abdullah and Fahad Al-Musaibeah (both Saudi Arabia) 2

Group 3

06.01.89: Pakistan-Kuwait 0-1 (Goal)
13.01.89: Kuwait-United Arab Emirates 3-2 (Goals)
20.01.89: United Arab Emirates-Pakistan 5-0 (Goals)
27.01.89: Kuwait-Pakistan 2-0 (Goals)
03.02.89: United Arab Emirates-Kuwait 1-0 (Goal)
10.02.89: Pakistan-United Arab Emirates 1-4 (UAE’s goals)

  1. United Arab Emirates 4 3 0 1 12-4 6
    …………………………………………………..
  2. Kuwait 4 3 0 1 6-3 6
  3. Pakistan 4 0 0 4 1-12 0

Comment: Kuwait had set themselves up nicely ahead of the all-decisive clash against the United Arab Emirates in Sharjah, having won their first three matches. Whilst both had dealt comfortably with Pakistan, albeit UAE more decisively so through big wins both home and away, the Emirates knew that a win to avenge the 3-2 defeat in Kuwait City the previous month would all but secure their passage through to the next qualification phase. For the Kuwaitis, a draw would suffice. Adnan Al-Taliyani’s goal settled matters. The same player would subsequently score a ‘worldie’ in their final game in Islamabad, so please check out UAE’s third goal in Pakistan. 

Leading scorer: Ibrahim Abdul Razak Al-Bloushi (UAE) 3

Group 4

23.05.89: Malaysia-Nepal 2-0
23.05.89: South Korea-Singapore 3-0 (Goals)
25.05.89: Malaysia-Singapore 1-0
25.05.89: South Korea-Nepal 9-0 (three first goals)
27.05.89: Nepal-Singapore 0-3 (first goal)
27.05.89: South Korea-Malaysia 3-0 (goals)
03.06.89: Singapore-Malaysia 2-2 (goals)
03.06.89: Nepal-South Korea 0-4 
05.06.89: Singapore-Nepal 7-0 
05.06.89: Malaysia-South Korea 0-3 (goals)
07.06.89: Nepal-Malaysia 0-3
07.06.89: Singapore-South Korea 0-3 (goals – third goal from Noh Soo-jin pretty special)

  1. South Korea 6 6 0 0 25-0 12
    ………………………………………..
  2. Malaysia 6 3 1 2 8-8 7
  3. Singapore 6 2 1 3 12-9 5
  4. Nepal 6 0 0 6 0-28 0


Group 5

19.02.89: Thailand-Bangladesh 1-0 
23.02.89: China-Bangladesh 2-0 
23.02.89: Thailand-Iran 0-3 
27.02.89: Bangladesh-Iran 1-2 
28.02.89: Thailand-China 0-3 
04.03.89: Bangladesh-China 0-2 
08.03.89: Bangladesh-Thailand 3-1 
17.03.89: Iran-Bangladesh 1-0 (goal)
30.05.89: Iran-Thailand 3-0 (first two goals)
15.07.89: China-Iran 2-0 (goals)
22.07.89: Iran-China 3-2 (goals)
29.07.89: China-Thailand 2-0 

  1. China 6 5 0 1 13-3 10
    ……………………………..
  2. Iran 6 5 0 1 12-5 10
  3. Bangladesh 6 1 0 5 4-9 2
  4. Thailand 6 1 0 5 2-14 2


Group 6

21.05.89: Indonesia-North Korea 0-0 
22.05.89: Hong Kong-Japan 0-0
27.05.89: Hong Kong-North Korea 1-2
28.05.89: Indonesia-Japan 0-0 (highlights)
04.06.89: Hong Kong-Indonesia 1-1 (goals)
04.06.89: Japan-North Korea 2-1 (highlights)
11.06.89: Japan-Indonesia 5-0 (goals)
18.06.89: Japan-Hong Kong 0-0 (highlights)
25.06.89: Indonesia-Hong Kong 3-2 
25.06.89: North Korea-Japan 2-0 (goals)
02.07.89: North Korea-Hong Kong 4-1 (goals)
09.07.89: North Korea-Indonesia 2-1 (goals)

  1. North Korea 6 4 1 1 11-5 9
    …………………………………….
  2. Japan 6 2 3 1 7-3 7
  3. Indonesia 6 1 3 2 5-10 5
  4. Hong Kong 6 0 3 3 5-10 3

 

Final round

12.10.89: China-Saudi Arabia 2-1
12.10.89: United Arab Emirates-North Korea 0-0
13.10.89: South Korea-Qatar 0-0
16.10.89: Qatar-Saudi Arabia 1-1
16.10.89: South Korea-North Korea 1-0
17.10.89: China-United Arab Emirates 1-2
20.10.89: China-South Korea 0-1
20.10.89: North Korea-Qatar 2-0
21.10.89: Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates 0-0
24.10.89: North Korea-China 0-1
24.10.89: United Arab Emirates-Qatar 1-1
25.10.89: Saudi Arabia-South Korea 0-2
28.10.89: Saudi Arabia-North Korea 2-0
28.10.89: United Arab Emirates-South Korea 1-1
28.10.89: Qatar-China 2-1

  1. South Korea 5 3 2 0 5-1 8
  2. United Arab Emirates 5 1 4 0 4-3 6
    …………………………………………………..
  3. Qatar 5 1 3 1 4-5 5
  4. China 5 2 0 3 5-6 4
  5. Saudi Arabia 5 1 2 2 4-5 4
  6. North Korea 5 1 1 3 2-4 3

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