2019 Asian Cup Preview – Group B

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Home of the defending Asian champions, Australia will have to defend their crown away from home and will face plenty of stiff competition this time around with several teams in contention to take their mantle.

Australia

The Socceroos enter the 2019 Asian Cup as defending champions but severely undermanned due to injuries to key players. But with a bit of luck in the draw and there is no reason to think they won’t be in the mix at the business end of the tournament.

Qualification

Australia qualified for the Asian Cup by finishing on top of World Cup Qualifying Second Round Group B with seven wins and one loss.

Group Winner Odds

Australia to Win Group B – $1.10

Biggest Game

Australia’s biggest test of the group stage will come first up against Jordan, the only side to beat them in qualifying Group B. While the Jordanians won’t have a vocal home crowd behind them this time, they will still want to give the Socceroos a good run for their money and will be a good barometer of where the Socceroos stand in the early stage of the tournament. In terms of the big picture their most anticipated game will be when/if they run into Japan in the knockout stages

Asian Cup Odds

Australia to Win the Asian Cup – $8

Overall Preview

Australia is one of the best teams in Asia and should be considered as a legitimate chance to win the whole tournament. However as we have seen far too often in the past few years, they tend to struggle in the Middle East and have been guilty of taking opponents lightly in the past. With the recent injury news around Martin Boyle, that might just be the straw that breaks the camels back here. While every Australian fan would love to see them go back to back, the field just looks to be too competitive here.

Jordan

The Jordanians will probably not win the Asian Cup, but would love to mess up a few predictions on their way, starting with their opening game as long odds outsiders against the defending champions Australia.

Qualification

Jordan qualified for the Asian Cup by winning Group C in the Third Round of Asian Cup Qualifying. In the Second Round they were runners up to Australia before finishing ahead of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Cambodia.

Group Winner Odds

Jordan to Win Group B – $17

Biggest Game

A very confident Jordan side knows it needs to make the knockout phase to meet its expectations and will be battling Syria for a spot in the knockout phase. Whoever can finish second in the group out of those two will automatically make the Round of 16 and not need to enter the mixture of third placed teams so the clash between them on the night of January 10 will be very intriguing.

Asian Cup Odds

Jordan to Win the Asian Cup – $51

Overall Preview

Jordan should be making the knockout phase of this tournament but anything beyond that would be a bonus for this side.

Palestine

Having made its tournament debut in 2015, Palestine will be looking for its first win in the Asian Cup after exiting in the Group Stage four years ago.

Qualification

Palestine entered qualification in the second round, finishing third in Group A behind Saudi Arabia and the UAE to advance to the third round. In the third round they earned a spot in the tournament finishing second behind Oman and ahead of the Maldives and Bhutan.

Group Winner Odds

Palestine to Win Group B – $51

Biggest Game

As the predicted whipping boy of their group, the Palestinian team will look to acquit themselves strongly against all opponents, however their third fixture against Jordan might be their best chance at an upset.

Asian Cup Odds

Palestine to Win the Asian Cup – $251

Overall Preview

Palestine’s main goal in this tournament will be to avoid being a goal differential booster for their opponents. If they can score once or twice and keep the against tally in single digits it will be a successful tournament.

Syria

A side that managed to defy the odds in World Cup qualifying, Syria were inches away from an unlikely playoff against Honduras. Having shown they can compete against the likes of Australia before, they enter the tournament feeling as though anything is possible.

Qualification

Syria entered the second round of qualification and finished second in Group E behind Japan. With 18 points from their eight games, they were one of the four best runner up sides and qualified directly for the Asian Cup.

Group Winner Odds

Syria to Win Group B – $7

Biggest Game

It is hard to overlook the clash with Australia on January 16 when the Syrians will look to at the very least secure another draw. If the results follow the script, that game could decide top spot in the group.

Asian Cup Odds

Syria to Win the Asian Cup – $21

Overall Preview

Having exited at the group stage in their previous five Asian Cups, Syria will be expecting at least a spot in the Round of 16 as the second favourite in Group B. From there, any progression will likely come down to avoiding one of the tournament heavyweights and looking for a quarter final appearance.

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