Saudi Arabia- Bahrain and Korea-Japan in the semifinals

In today’s four matches in the main round, most of the anticipated excitement failed to materialize. Only one match was close, namely Qatar-Saudi Arabia. Qatar had the rather impossible task of winning by at least six goals, in order to qualify for the semi-finals. They almost managed to win, but in the end they had to settle for a tie. As Japan crushed a disillusioned Iranian team, this meant that Qatar was out.

In the other group, Bahrain had absolutely no problems with home team, drawing on their experience to win easily. Syria managed to play even with Korea in the first half, mainly by using really dirty methods. In the second half, however, the Koreans pulled away and won convincingly.

The complete results and standings in the Main Round are as follows:

[u]Gr. A.[/u]
Iran – Saudi Arabia 19-26 (8-11)
Japan – Qatar 29-20 (15-10)
Iran – Qatar 21-22 (11-11)
Japan – Saudi Arabia 26-28 (12-15)
Qatar – Saudi Arabia 26-26 (12-13)
Japan – Iran 36-23 (21-11)

[b]1. Saudi Arabia [/b]5 points [b]2. Japan [/b]4 points 3. Qatar 3 points 4. Iran 0 points

[u]Gr. B.[/u]
Syria – Bahrain 31-35 (13-16)
Korea – Lebanon 38-23 (17-11)
Korea – Bahrain 39-25 (19-11)
Syria – Lebanon 32-29 (17-14)
Syria – Korea 25-35 (14-15)
Lebanon – Bahrain 18-36 (8-13)

[b]1. Korea [/b]6 points [b]2. Bahrain [/b]4 points 3. Syria 2 points 4. Lebanon 0 points

In a placement match, Iraq beat Jordan with 30-26; on Tuesday, Iraq will play against China for 9th place, and Jordan-U.A.E. will play for 11th place;

On Wednesday, Qatar and Syria will battle for 5th place, and Iran-Lebanon are playing for 7th place.

The same evening, the semifinals will be: Saudi Arabia-Bahrain and Korea-Japan. The winners qualify for the Asian final and therefore also for the 2011 World Championship. The losers will play for ‘bronze’ and for the final slot in Sweden 2011.

The results until now make it very difficult to have a firm opinion on the outcome of the Saudi Arabia-Bahrain match-up. Neither team has shown real stability, and whoever turns out to be the winner, one could not really talk about a surprise. Korea must be seen as the favorite against Japan, but in this East Asian rivalry one can never be too sure.