Hong Kong faces Cambodia in Phnom Penh for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification opening fixture

2019-09-04

Hong Kong is set to open its FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 campaign by taking on Cambodia in National Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Thursday. Kickoff time for the fixture is set for 18:30 (Phnom Penh, local time).

Currently ranked 139th in the world (based on FIFA World Ranking, published on 25th July 2019), Hong Kong finds itself in a relatively challenging Group C, with IR Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Cambodia as fellow group sides, competing for one of the twelve berths available in the next round.

Hong Kong head coach Mixu Paatelainen has selected a squad mixed with experience and energy for the task and is looking forward to come up with a fast start on Thursday against Cambodia. Mainstays such as Huang Yang, Yapp Hung-fai, Wong Wai, Alexander Akane have all been called up to the travelling party, while youngster such as Sun Ming-him has also been drafted.

While Festus Baise, Chak Ting-fung, Lee Ka-yiu and Xu Deshuai have all withdrawn from the squad due to various reasons, replacements such as Robeto Affonso Junior, Law Tsz-chun, Chung Wai-keung and Cheng Siu-kwan are all talented players with experience, ability, energy and should prove to be worthy candidates to step up.

Hong Kong head coach Mixu Paatelainen understands his side will be facing an uphill battle against Cambodia in the opening fixture but has set a positive target for his troops nevertheless.

“Cambodia is a decent side. A lot of people in Hong Kong might underestimate them but they have played together for a while, have a strong football concept and have been improving,” Paatelainen offered.

“We are eager to come home with all three points from the opening game but playing in front of a passionate Cambodia crowd and against the quick, technically-solid Cambodian players will not be an easy task.”

Ranked 170th in the world (based on FIFA World Ranking published on 25th July 2019), Cambodia defeated Pakistan home and away through a 4:1 aggregate score in the previous round to book its place in the current stage.

Led by Argentine Felix Dalmas and flanked by Japanese icon Keisuke Honda, there is no doubt that the Angkor Warriors will be looking to keep its winning streak alive by upsetting Hong Kong on Thursday.