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South Korea set to seal World Cup berth; Japan, Saudi Arabia meet in crucial tie

South Korea can seal a 9th consecutive FIFA World Cup appearance with victory over Syria on Tuesday evening. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

With just three matches remaining in the third and final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, only one of the 12 teams in the running have sealed their place at the year-end tournament.

With Thursday's 1-0 win over Iraq, Iran secured a top-two finish in Group A to join hosts Qatar as Asia's second representatives -- but the duo could be joined by two more teams by the end of Tuesday's play.

- Iran first from Asia to book 2022 FIFA World Cup berth
- Rogic shows importance to Socceroos vs. Vietnam

Here, we take a look at the key points to look out for in Match Day 8 of the Asian qualifiers.

Will Zidane Iqbal offer hope for the future of Iraq?

With no wins and just four points from their seven matches, it has been a disappointing campaign thus far although there remains a possibility they could still keep alive their World Cup dream by finishing third in Group A and entering the playoff round.

Following the departure of ex-coach Dick Advocaat at the end of last year, it does seem that the Lions of Mesopotamia are undergoing a changing of the guard under Zeljko Petrovic, whose current 22-man squad boasts 14 members with less than ten caps to their names.

19-year-old striker Ali Al-Hamadi, who plies his trade in England with Wycombe Wanderers, has already shown glimpses of his talent, but it is Manchester United starlet Zidane Iqbal -- who came off the bench against Iran for his first senior international appearance at just 18 -- who is shaping up as Iraq's potential crown jewel.

South Korea set to secure 9th consecutive World Cup appearance

With eight consecutive appearances at the World Cup dating back to 1986, South Korea can now be viewed as part of the tournament's furniture.

And even without Tottenham ace Son Heung-min to call upon in this international window due to injury, it seems a mere formality that the Taegeuk Warriors will book their place at Qatar 2022.

With an eight-point buffer between them and third-placed United Arab Emirates, South Korea head into Tuesday's tie against bottom side Syria knowing that a win would be enough to follow Iran as Group A's two guaranteed qualifiers.

Crucial six-pointer awaits Japan, Saudi Arabia

With Saudi Arabia currently top of Group B with a four-point lead over Japan, victory in the upcoming meeting between the two sides will secure a World Cup berth for the Green Falcons.

But should Japan emerge victorious, and Australia favourites in their game against Oman, there could be a scenario where the three teams are separated by just two points heading into the final two qualifiers.

Defeat for the Japanese would be hugely damaging to their prospects with a game against Australia still to come, which makes their meeting with the Saudi Arabians an immensely pivotal affair.

Minnows Vietnam have best chance to end drought

It has been a huge learning experience for Vietnam in their first foray in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the World Cup. Despite having lost all seven matches so far, performances have been creditable coming up against some of the continent's powerhouses.

Still, it will be quite a chastening record to have to their names if the Vietnamese are to go the entire campaign without picking up a single point, although they have an excellent opportunity to ensure that does not happen against China PR.

In the previous meeting between the two sides, Vietnam were unlucky not to at least force a draw having come from 2-0 down to level the match at 2-2 only to ultimately lose after conceding again in the 95th minute.

The Chinese have been far from at their best over the course of the campaign, and loom as Vietnam's best chance of picking up at least a point if not all three.