Guam faced the top two teams in Group A in the first two matches of the qualifiers, losing to China then Syria.
Fans react to a successful penalty kick by the Mataos Marcus Lopez in the Guam vs Philippines FIFA World Cup prequalifier at the GFA.
Pacific Daily News
The Matao will face the Philippines Friday in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers.
Although out of the race to make the World Cup, Guam’s national team aims to finish on a high note moving next into the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 playoff round, scheduled for later this year, according to a news release from the Guam Football Association.
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“So far, we haven’t been able to score goals during this tournament,” said Suh Dong Won, Matao head coach. “Rather than winning the game itself (against the Philippines), we will instead focus more on creating the best attacking opportunities and to score goals. We’ll do our best until the end.”
Guam faced the top two teams in Group A in the first two matches of the qualifiers, losing its opener against China in Suzhou. The Matao had to pack its bags to head to the United Arab Emirates, where it lost 3-0 to Syria, the group leaders, the release stated.
Guams starting 11 players selected against Syria ahead of their Round 2 match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers at Sharjah Stadium in the United Arab Emirates June 7. From left: Isiah Lagutang, Clayton Sato, Alexander Lee, Mark Chargualaf, and Shawn Aguigui. Back, from left: Justin Lee, Travis Nicklaw, John Matkin, Marlon Evans, Jason Cunliffe (captain), and Dallas Jaye.
(Photo: Courtesy of the Guam Football Association)
“Although we only had a short time to prepare (against Syria), we focused on ball possession training during the training camp,” Suh said.
Syria’s Mardek Mardkian opened with two quick goals before the 10-minute mark, with the first after intercepting a back pass from Guam’s Alexander Lee to goalkeeper Dallas Jaye. Three minutes later, Mardkian finished a cross from teammate Khaled Kerdagli to double Syria’s advantage.
Syria’s Mahmoud Al Mawas, coming off a hat trick match against the Maldives, entered the match as a second-half substitute and scored his team’s lone second-half goal in the 84th minute, the release stated.
The win by Syria cemented its spot in the third round of qualifiers for the World Cup.
Only the group winners and the top four second-ranked teams from all groups will advance to the third round of qualifiers for the World Cup. All other teams will continue on to the next qualification round for the Asian Cup or into a playoff round to stay alive.
Based on the results so far from Guam’s seven matches, the Matao will be placed in the playoff round, the news release stated.
Watch it live
- Watch a live stream of the Philippines-Guam match, at midnight, June 12, Guam time on the GFA official website, https://GuamFA.com. Other links will be communicated via GFA social media platforms.