Mixed results for heavyweights across Asia and South America

  • Qatar 2022 qualifying continued on both sides of the world on Thursday
  • Important wins for IR Iran & UAE, Australia remain perfect
  • Colombia and Bolivia shine, Argentina held at home by Chile

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying gathered steam on opposite sides of the globe on Thursday with a massive round of action across Asia and South America.

IR Iran and United Arab Emirates both notably improved their chances with crucial wins. Later in the day there were much-needed wins for Bolivia and Colombia, although Argentina were held 1-1 at home by Chile.

FIFA.com reviews the matchday with the action to resume on Friday in the Concacaf region, while Brazil will host Ecuador.

South American qualifiers (All Matches)

South American World Cup qualifiers – 3 June 2021

Lautaro Martinez of Argentina makes an attempt on goal against Chile

Five-meters tall statue of late football legend Diego Maradona is unveiled at Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades 

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring the opening goal

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring the opening goal

Alexis Sanchez of Chile scores the first goal of his team

Martin Lasarte Coach of Chile talks to Alexis Sanchez of Chile

General view of the empty Centenario stadium 

Referee Wilmar Roldán (3L) poses with captains Gustavo Gómez of Paraguay (2L) and Diego Godín of Uruguay (4L)

Martín Cáceres of Uruguay kicks the ball against Óscar Romero of Paragua

Head coach of Uruguay Oscar Tabárez gestures

Luis Suárez of Uruguay reacts during a match between Uruguay and Paraguay

Óscar Romero of Paraguay fights for the ball with Federico Valverde (L) and Martín Cáeres (R) 

 Marcelo Moreno Martins of Bolivia celebrates after scoring the third goal of his team 

Players of Bolivia pose for a team picture before a match between Bolivia and Venezuela

Marcelo Moreno Martins of Bolivia takes a shot during a match between Bolivia and Venezuela

Jhon Chancellor of Venezuela celebrates after scoring the first goal of his team

Cesar Farias coach of Bolivia reacts during a match between Bolivia and Venezuela 

Marcelo Moreno Martins of Bolivia celebrates after scoring

Players of Colombia huddle before a match between Peru and Colombia

 Yerry Mina of Colombia heads the ball to score the first goal 

 Yerry Mina of Colombia heads the ball to score the first goal

Ricardo Gareca coach of Peru gestures during a match between Peru and Colombia 

Mateus Uribe of Colombia kicks the ball to score the second goal 

Luis Di­az of Colombia celebrates with team-mates Mateus Uribe and William Tesillo

Bolivia’s star striker Marcelo Martins delivered just when it was most needed as the home side claimed their first win of the campaign over the visiting Venezuela. The striker became his nation’s highest scorer in World Cup qualifiers (18), having netted either end of a contest which was evenly poised at 1-1 at the half-time break.

It was a far tenser affair in Montevideo with neither Uruguay or the visiting Paraguay able to get on the scoresheet. The result keeps Albirroja unbeaten after five matches, while the two-time World Cup winners are level on points in a congested mid-table.

It was a typical gritty contest in Buenos Aires as Chile came away with a hard-won point. Argentina took the lead though a Lionel Messi spot-kick midway through the first half, but ever-reliable veteran Alexis Sanchez drew La Roja level before the break. The result meant Argentina missed the opportunity to take temporary hold of top spot with leaders Brazil not in action until tomorrow.

Colombia were the most impressive victors of the day and gave their campaign a much-needed boost with a 3-0 triumph against Russia 2018 participants Peru. Goals either side of the break did the damage in Lima and allowed Colombia to move up to sixth following on from their horror start to Qatar 2022 qualifying.

Results across Asia (All matches)

Bangladesh and Afghanistan shared the spoils in Group E. Centre-back Topu Barman grabbed a late equaliser – his first World Cup qualifying goal – to help the hosts secure their second point of the campaign. Elsewhere in Group E, World Cup hosts Qatar edged India 1-0 to extend their lead at the top of the group and to remain unbeaten.

Regular World Cup finals participants IR Iran opened Group C play on the day with a 3-1 victory over Hong Kong. Team Melli were in second place in the group for only a couple of hours before Bahrain thrashed Cambodia 8-0 to leapfrog Iraq into first place. It was Bahrain’s second-biggest victory in World Cup qualifying history – their biggest win was in February 2012 when they beat Indonesia 10-0 – giving their goal difference a big boost in an extremely tight race for first.

2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers: 3 June 2021

IR Iran and Hong Kong line up before their World Cup qualifier

IR Iran v Hong Kong, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying

Ali Gholizadeh of IR Iran celebrates scoring against Hong Kong

Vahid Amiri celebrates scoring for IR Iran against Hong Kong

Omid Popalzay of Afghanistan controls the ball

Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying

Jamal Bhuyan of Bangladesh celebrates Topu Barman's late equaliser against Afghanistan

Anjan Bista celebrates scoring for Nepal

India v Qatar – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 qualifying

India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu watches on as Abdulaziz Hatem scores the winning goal for Qatar

Thailand celebrate Narubodin Weerawatnodom's goal in a 2-2 draw with Indonesia

Bahrain's Kamil Al Aswad celebrates during their 8-0 victory over Cambodia

United Arab Emirates vs Malaysia, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying

United Arab Emirates vs Malaysia, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying

In Group B, Nepal secured a 2-0 victory over Chinese Taipei to repeat the result when the two nations met in the reverse fixture back in September 2019. After 567 days, the country’s longest spell without taking the field since the early 1960s, Australia returned in style and Mathew Leckie needed just 53 seconds to get on the scoresheet, heading home to kick-start a 3-0 victory against Kuwait. Ajdin Hrustic sealed the win with a brilliant free-kick to give the Socceroos a five-point cushion at the top of the section.

One of the toughest groups to call is Group G. Vietnam still find themselves two points clear at the summit, but the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Malaysia are all on nine points, with Vietnam and the UAE having a game in hand. Thailand will be disappointed with a 2-2 draw against Indonesia, who snapped an 11-match losing streak in World Cup qualifiers as they twice came from behind to get their first point of the campaign. The UAE completed the double over Malaysia in successive World Cup qualifying campaigns in a comfortable 4-0 win.

United Arab Emirates vs Malaysia, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying

Palestine and Singapore were the only teams in action in Group D. The Palestinians were impressive and won 4-0 to snap a three-game losing streak and to end a four-game goal drought in World Cup qualifying matches.

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