The second round of joint qualifiers are set to kickoff from September this year.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today announced the draws for the 2022 FIFA World Cup & 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualification Round 2 in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. The qualification PROCESS for the showpiece tournaments begin in September this year, with a handful of teams advancing to the third round of the qualifiers.
The Indian football team, who have seen a rapid rise in the FIFA rankings in the past couple of years, were put in Pot 3 for the draw. The Blue Tigers, who finished in the last position in their respective group in the qualifiers last time around, were put in a comparatively easier draw this time, with Qatar being the only giants in their Group E. The rest of the teams India will be playing against in the upcoming qualifiers are Bangladesh, Oman and Afghanistan.
The Indian team (101) will face two of the Asian giants in Qatar (55) and Oman (86), while the other two sides, Afghanistan (149) and Bangladesh (183) are behind the Blue Tigers in the FIFA rankings. Qatar, who are also the reigning Asian champions, are also the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
A total of 40 national teams were clubbed in eight different groups in the draw on Wednesday afternoon. Here are all the sides with their respective groups who will be starting their qualification process come September.
Watch: India head coach Igor Stimac looks ahead to FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers
Group A- China PR, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam
Group B- Australia, Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait, Nepal
Group C- Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia
Group D- Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore
Group E- Bangladesh, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Qatar
Group F- Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia
Group G- United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Group H- Korea Republic, Lebanon, Korea DPR, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka
Indian football team’s Fixtures
September 5, 2019: India vs Oman
September 10, 2019: Qatar vs India
October 15, 2019: India vs Bangladesh
November 14, 2019: Afghanistan vs India
November 19, 2019: Oman vs India
March 26, 2020: India vs Qatar
June 4, 2020: Bangladesh vs India
June 9, 2020: India vs Afghanistan