Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let's do this!

THE  win against Vietnam got us closer to the semifinal round but getting closer is a whole lot different than being in the semifinal round.

In Group A, only Thailand is assured of a semis spot, while Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines are still fighting for the second spot and Myanmar may have an axe to grind against us.

Though last in the group with one point and a -4 goal difference, Myanmar can still qualify to the knockout stage if it beats the Philippines and Thailand beats Vietnam or their game ends in a draw.  (By the way, like all final matches in the group stage, the Thailand vs. Vietnam and Myanmar vs. Philippines games will be played simultaneously, so teams which need to know the outcome of the other game wouldn't have the advantage.)

Vietnam, too, can still make the next round if it beats Thailand and we lose to Myanmar.  But a Vietnam win and a Myanmar vs. Philippines draw may still see us advance, provided Vietnam doesn't win by more than one goal.

If Thailand wins, a draw will be enough to see us through as the second qualifier with four points.  And as the host, Thailand, will still go for that win to sweep its group stage matches and the chance to eliminate a regional rival would be too good to pass up.

According to Ian Griffins, the rankings will be determined by points, goal difference, goals for and head-to-head.  A 1-0 win by Vietnam, puts it at four points, even goal difference, and two goals for, which puts the 2008 champions on even terms with the Philippines on points, goal difference and goals for in case of a scoreless draw, hence, we advance by goal difference on the third tiebreaker, head-to-head.

A win of course, gets us through, regardless of the Thailand vs. Vietnam results.

But since 2008, we haven't won against Myanmar in the final group stage match and we've had two straight 0-0 draws with them, both going favorably for us.

In 2008 in Thailand, after back-to-back 4-0 losses to Malaysia and Thailand, we got our first point after that draw against Myanmar, which effectively prevented them from advancing.  In 2010, of course, our 0-0 draw allowed us to advance to the semifinals for the first time.

So Philippines vs. Myanmar, Nov. 30.  Let's do this!

Just one more game!

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