Asia Qualifiers – The draw for the second qualifying round for World Cup 2022 took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday. It drew Asia’s top 40 teams into 8 groups. Each group consists of 5 teams. These fixtures will go on for a duration of 10 months from 5 September 2019 onwards till 9 June 2020. Each group winner and the top 5 runners up based on their performance will advance to the next round. The groups as per the ceremony, and conducted by FIFA Director and Australian FIFA Legend Tim Cahill is as follows:
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: Qatar, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh
Group F: Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia
Group G: United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Group H: Korea Republic, Lebanon, Korea DPR, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka
Group C is one of the most interesting groups as Asia’s top-ranked side Iran will be facing tough challenges from Iraq and Bahrain. Iraq and Bahrain both have a history of causing upsets and producing surprising results. If Iran is not able to perform consistently, this group can be very wide open.
Group B includes Jordan and Australia competing once again at an international stage. Both the sides have won once against each other, Jordan recently defeated Australia 1-0 in the Asian Cup. Chinese Taipei must be having its sight set on the runners up spot looking at this group.
Group E includes our team India that will be facing tough competition from the World Cup hosts Qatar. Qatar will definitely be having an advantage over the other teams. Considering Qatar will likely end the group as table toppers it should be an exciting race between Oman and India for the second spot.
Group H has the Korea Republic as its top seed, they enter this competition in hopes of making their consecutive 10th appearance in the world cup. They will need to worry about DPR Korea who has played well in the Intercontinental Cup so far and also Lebanon.