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Asian WCQs viewing info

When & Where to watch ALL 6 Asian WCQs on March 23, 2017

March 22, 2017 By Michelle Bonsu
2018 World Cup qualifying resumes for Australia, South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, and more this Thursday. provides info to tune into China-South Korea, Iraq-Australia, and more.

All of Europe's major leagues - the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, LaLiga, and Ligue 1 - are on hiatus. But that doesn't mean that fans can't get their fix of football, as we are now in the international break, and there will be plenty of games on store for followers all around the world. In addition to some interesting friendlies, all the confererations are in action as numerous teams attempt to try to book their spot at the upcoming World Cup next year.

The highlights of the AFC's batch of fixtures are China vs South Korea and Iraq vs Australia. Below is a rundown of those two big games, as well as viewing info for the other matches starting from this Thursday.

China vs South Korea - 04:35 PST/07:35 EST/11:35 GMT/19:35 CST/20:35 KST

  • In the USA on: WatchESPN, ESPN3 USA
  • In South Korea on: JTBC
  • In China on: CCTV-5, PPTV Sport China, Star Sports 2 China

Here's an interesting stat to consider ahead of China vs. South Korea, the first of the two big games this Thursday: South Korea have featured at every single World Cup since 1986. They also made their debut at the 1954 edition in Switzerland, and finished in fourth place at the 2002 edition which they co-hosted with Japan. By contrast, China made their first and only appearance in 2002, where they were dumped out in the group stages.

China, however, have made no secret about their hopes to someday establish themselves on the world stage. Their domestic league has made headlines (some of which have been negative) due to their out of control spending to bring in Europe's top players, and in terms of the national side, they now have Italian tactician Marcello Lippi at the helm.

Lippi, of course, is well known to most due to his success with Italy and Juventus where he won the 2006 World Cup as well as several Serie A titles and the Champions League (whilst finishing as runners-up on three occasions). And to date, having also won the AFC Champions League with Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande, he is the only coach to have clinched the Champions League on two different continents.

Due to China's overall bad performances so far, Lippi is already facing questions about some of his selections, namely Zhang Yuning. The 20-year-old striker has struggled to find his footing with Vitesse Arnhem, where he has scored just once, but his boss was quick to come to his defense, noting that "Zhang Yuning hasn't had regular playing opportunities at his club and that's not a good thing to maintain his status...but his quality is recognized at national team level [and] I hope he can win more chances with his club in order to maintain a consistent level". 

Will Zhang Yuning be able to repay his manager's faith in him to help China get back on track?

Meanwhile, South Korea come into this tie having won their last competitive fixture, which was a well-deserved 2-1 home victory over Uzbekistan last year. Overall, the Taegeuk Warriors have won three, drawn one, and lost one out of their last five games and are by far viewed as the heavy favorites for this fixture.

However, they will have to do it without star man Son Heung-Min. The 24-year-old Tottenham ace, who has scored 17 goals for his national side and 14 so far for Spurs across all comps this season, is suspended for this fixture. It's a real shame, as Son has been quite excellent for Mauricio Pochettino's side, including becoming the first South Korean (and first Asian overall) to win the Premier League Player of the Month award in October for the prior month.

Son Heung-Min will not be available for this game due to suspension, meaning that South Korea will have to rely on other options

Certainly, Son's coach Uli Stielike is not happy to have him not available for this game, but he has still included him in the travelling party as the team will take on Syria next week. This game also will have quite a bit of tension due to some off-the-pitch political issues involving the United States; basically, South Korea's agreement to cooperate with the USA on a missile defense system has China in a tizzy due to their belief that this now poses a major threat to their national security.

Politics have no place in football, but unfortunately, that's just the way it is, and Stielike has made it clear that he and his team are just focused on getting the job done on Thursday: "Outside factors will not have a bearing on the game, [and] we are just focusing on preparing as well as we can".

Iraq vs Australia - 05:00 PST/08:00 EST/12:00 GMT/15:00 AST/23:00 AEDT

  • In the USA on: ESPN3 USA, WatchESPN
  • In Australia on: Foxtel Play, Fox Sports 4 Australia
  • In Iraq on: beIN SPORTS CONNECT Arabia, beIN Sports Arabia 3 HD

Australia are traditionally viewed as one of the heavyweights in their region, but the Socceroos have some work to do. They find themselves in third and whilst a battle with Japan for top spot was expected, they certainly were not expecting to be really competing with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Things are very tight in this group, as four teams are vying for two automatic spots as seen here:

Despite not losing any of their games so far, what has really hurt Australia are those three draws. A 1-1 result with Japan was to be expected, and not out of the ordinary, but stalemates with Saudi Arabia and Thailand, two teams they were expected to beat without much fuss has cost them four valuable points where they should have earned all six.

Viewing info for the other Asian WCQ's:

Syria vs Uzbekistan - 05:00 PST/08:00 EST/12:00 GMT/14:00 EET/17:00 UZT

  • In Syria on: beIN Sports Arabia 5 HD, beIN SPORTS CONNECT Arabia
  • In Uzbekistan on: MTRK

Thailand vs Saudi Arabia - 05:00 PST/08:00 EST/12:00 GMT/15:00 AST/19:00 ICT

  • In Thailand on: Fox Sports Thailand, BBTV Channel 7, Fox Sports Hong Kong
  • In Saudi Arabia on: beIN Sports Arabia 1 HD, beIN SPORTS CONNECT Arabia

United Arab Emirates vs Japan - 08:30 PST/11:30 EST/15:30 GMT/19:30 GST/02:30 JST (Friday)

  • In the USA on: ESPN3 USA, WatchESPN
  • In Japan on: TBS
  • In the UAE on: beIN SPORTS CONNECT Arabia, beIN Sports Arabia 1 HD

Qatar vs Iran - 09:00 PST/12:00 EST/16:00 GMT/19:00 AST/20:30 IRDT

  • In Qatar on: beIN Sports Arabia 2 HD
  • In Iran on: beIN Sports Arabia 2 HD

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