BEIRUT (Lebanon) – After the conclusion of an action-packed Window 4, there is not likely to be a significant shift in the balance of power in the Asian Qualifiers scene. This is because the majority of teams are likely to parade similar squads into the upcoming matches.
This Power Ranking could end up looking very different by the time the window is over due to the fact that several World Cup qualification tickets are already in the process of being collected.
Nevertheless, the following is how they are currently ranked prior to entering Window 5:
|12||India is still looking for their first win in the Asian Qualifiers. They have two away games scheduled this window, including one against Lebanon at Zouk Mikael. This is not the best situation for India.||–|
|00:00||The Steppen Wolves should benefit from two home games. Kazakhstan will have to prove themselves in the rematch (as well as a game against undefeated Australia) to change our minds, given their form at the end of Window 4 with that second half collapse to Japan.||–|
|10||Last window, Saudi Arabia went winless against two very good teams despite some promising stretches. Both games will be played at home in Window 5 against a friendly foe in India and the Philippines, who will be powered down from Window 4.||–|
|9||Going up against Australia and China on the road may have been the most difficult schedule of any team in Window 4, but Bahrain now has the opportunity to rebound with two home games. Japan is never an easy opponent, but given the relative pressure of World Cup qualification (Japan is qualified as a co-host), this could be a good opportunity for Bahrain to claim an important win.||–|
|8||The Falcons have been busy with preseason games against Turkish clubs, which means that these Power Rankings may be underrating them once again. They’ll have to prove everyone wrong by facing tough teams from the Philippines and New Zealand. Even if the games are held in Jordan, it will be difficult.||–|
|00:00||Coach Toom Hovasse’s team performed admirably in Window 4, despite the close loss to Iran. They are only dropping in this Power Ranking because another team is moving up (see below) and because they will be without Yudai Baba this window.||⬇️1️⃣|
|6||Iran could have been higher after beating Japan and forcing Australia to sweat, but they couldn’t finish strong against the Boomers, so they’re here. Iran’s World Cup qualification hopes remain shaky as a result of two early-season losses to Kazakhstan. A victory over China in the first game of Window 5 would be enormous.||⬇️1️⃣|
|5||The Philippines performed admirably in Window 4: a competitive away game against Lebanon and a dominant home performance against Saudi Arabia. Can they capitalize on that moment this time around with a big game against Jordan – even without Jordan Clarkson?||⬇️1️⃣|
|4||The likelihood of Zhou Qi returning for another window is what initially propels China into the Top 5 of the Power Rankings. China should be one of the better teams this window if Zhou Qi plays. If he does not, China is likely to struggle and fall a few spots in the Power Ranking update.||⬆️3️⃣|
|00:00||New Zealand is going to the World Cup, so they might be a little loose in one of their tougher Qualifiers against Lebanon and New Zealand, both of which are away games. Still, given their recent play and shooting, it will be difficult to knock them down the rankings for the time being.||–|
|2||Lebanon, like New Zealand, will be under less pressure because they have already qualified for the World Cup and have a favorable game against India. However, as we’ve seen in recent years, Lebanon can really catch fire when they’re at their peak of confidence… which could be the case in the next two games.||–|
|1||It’s strange that the top team in the Power Ranking has yet to confirm World Cup qualification, but given the Boomers’ undefeated record, it only seems a matter of “when.” Australia returns the majority of their squad from the previous window, so extending their unbeaten streak through 2022 shouldn’t be too difficult.||–|
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