The fourth match round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup third round qualifiers will take place on Tuesday with 24 teams looking to move one step closer towards booking their ticket to United Arab Emirates.
Apart from hosts UAE, 11 of Asia’s biggest teams are already through to the continent’s biggest stage: Qatar, Korea Republic, Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Uzbekistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq and China PR.
Nonetheless, 12 spots are still up for grabs and plenty of drama and excitement is bound to emerge on Tuesday.
Here, FOX Sports Asia previews what we can expect from the six groups.
Myanmar v Kyrgyzstan (Thuwanna Stadium, Yangon)
India v Macau (Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore) – *to be played on Wednesday, October 11
The lowdown: Impressively, India are just one of two teams still holding a 100 per cent record in the third and final round of qualifiers.
India will have to wait an extra day to take to the field, with their home game against Macau postponed to Wednesday.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) October 9, 2017
However, the change in date should offer little distraction given the prize at stake. Win, and the Blue Tigers are almost certainly through with two games to spare, although the situation is complicated by the fact that Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan had both played a game less.
The latter two play each other a day earlier in Yangon, a match also looming as pivotal given they are currently tied on three points.
Hong Kong v Malaysia (Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong)
Lebanon v DPR Korea (Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium, Beirut)
The lowdown: Group B is another tricky one considering Malaysia and DPR Korea have yet to play their first encounter, which was initially scheduled for March but has since been postponed on several occasions.
As things stand, it is Lebanon who lead the way with seven points, five points more than any of their closest challengers.
HARIMAU MALAYA SQUAD TRAINING SESSION IN HONG KONG | 8TH OCTOBER 2017
— FA Malaysia (@FAM_Malaysia) October 8, 2017
Victory for the Lebanese over DPR Korea would see them take a big step towards qualification, while Malaysia – despite having a game in hand – must beat Hong Kong or face an uphill task thereafter.
Afghanistan v Jordan (Pamir Stadium, Dushanbe)
Vietnam v Cambodia (My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi)
The lowdown: After beginning the third round of qualifiers with back-to-back draws, Vietnam got up and running with a 2-1 win over Cambodia back in September and a repeat would put them firmly in the running to advance.
Leaders Jordan are also expected to beat bottom side Afghanistan and, should the top two both win, it would see them open a five-point gap between the lower half of the group with just two games remaining.
But, if the Cambodians pull off an upset in Hanoi, it would make things really intriguing as they would overtake Vietnam in second place.
Palestine v Bhutan (Dora International Stadium, Hebron)
Maldives v Oman (National Football Stadium, Male)
The lowdown: Like India, Palestine have won all their games thus far and another victory over Bhutan would effectively seal their Asian Cup berth.
— Bhutan Football (@BhutanFootball) October 8, 2017
Surpisingly, Oman are second in the group despite racking up 20 goals in their past three outings, owing to a 2-1 loss to the Palestinians back in June.
Maldives also are still in with a shout but defeat to Oman in Male would leave them with a slim chance at best.
Chinese Taipei v Bahrain (Taipei Municipal Stadium, Taipei)
Turkmenistan v Singapore (Kopetdag Stadium, Ashgabat)
The lowdown: Group E has so far proven to be the most keenly-contested with only five points separating leaders Bahrain and bottom side Singapore.
The Singaporeans initially started well after holding Bahrain to a 0-0 draw in Riffa, but a shock 2-1 defeat to Chinese Taipei and a disappointing 1-1 draw with Turkmenistan leave them in desperate need of a win.
Chinese Taipei entered the campaign fairly unfancied but, if they can manage a positive result against Bahrain, arguably the strongest team in the group, they will have every reason to believe in their chances.
Tajikistan v Nepal (Hisor Central Stadium, Hisor)
Yemen v Philippines (Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium, Al Wakrah)
The lowdown: It is Philippines who currently sit pretty at the top of Group E but they could have been in an even better position, following a 2-2 draw at home to Yemen last time out.
Off to Doha for Asian cup qualifires.Time to fight for the country?? Hope to see all the filipinos out there on the match day October 10. pic.twitter.com/Tb4OXVWjfd
— Daisuke Sato (@daisukesato11) October 2, 2017
They have a chance to make amends in the rematch at the neutral venue of the Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium in Qatar, while Tajikistan entertain bottom side Nepal.
The Tajiks are expected to claim the win and move to six points, meaning Philippines and Yemen will both be needing victory too in order to remain inside the top two.