Chinese Taipei and IR Iran have also been drawn in Group A.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) virtually conducted the official final draw for the expanded 12-team AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 on Thursday, October 28. As India are the hosts, they have been automatically drawn in Group A. The tournament is set to begin on January 20, 2022 and will be played across three venues in India.

The tournament will see Japan defend their title from 2018. They have been put in Group C along with Korea Republic, Vietnam and Myanmar. Australia, champions in 2010 and runners-up in the last two editions, have been drawn in Group B alongside Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia.

Eight-time winners China PR is drawn alongside hosts India, Chinese Taipei and IR Iran in Group A. China PR won their last title in 2006.

The full final draw of the tournament is as follows:

Group A:  India, China PR, Chinese Taipei, IR Iran.

Group B:  Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia.

Group C:  Japan, Korea Republic, Vietnam, Myanmar.

Backdrop

Four teams qualified automatically for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022. India qualified as the hosts. Japan, Australia and China PR qualified by virtue of their first, second and third place finish respectively in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 held in Jordan.

Building up to the tournament, the top five ranked teams will qualify automatically for the FIFA Women’s World Cup set to be held in Australia & New Zealand in 2023. If Australia finish in the top five, the sixth team in the rankings will also qualify for the event. The next best two teams from the play-off matches will also represent Asia at the Inter-Confederation play-off matches.

The top two teams each from Groups A, B and C at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 will qualify for the knockout stages. The two best-performing third-placed teams across all the three groups will also qualify along with them.

The format of the tournament’s knockout stages is as follows:

AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022
AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022: Knockout stages (via AFC Media)

India (57th in FIFA Women’s Rankings) will take on Iran (72nd rank) in the opening game of the tournament at the DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai on January 20. Tougher games against China PR (17) and Chinese Taipei (40) follow for the eves.

Fans may be reminded of India’s recent win against Chinese Taipei in an International friendly. Winning against them is tough, but doable. At the same time, it also remains to be seen as to how Thomas Dennerby’s side approach the clash against China PR.

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