India clubbed with 2022 hosts in easy draw

Football Asian qualifiers draw for 2022 Fifa World Cup on Wednesday India placed in pot three

India have been drawn alongside Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Group E of the AFC's World Cup 2022 qualification. The remaining 24 teams would be out of contention for qualifying for the World Cup but could still qualify for the Asia Cup when they participate in another round of qualifiers to determine the remaining 12 teams in the 24-team Asia Cup to be hosted by China in 2023.

Coached by Paulo Bento, South Korea are the top-ranked team in the group at No. 37, followed by Lebanon (86th), North Korea (122nd), Turkmenistan (135th) and Sri Lanka (201st). Japan is in Group F with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Mongolia. The group winners and four best runners-up will advance to the third round. Teams play each other twice in a home-and-away format in these qualifiers, but North Korean two home matches against South Korea back then were played in the neutral venue of Shanghai.

Interestingly, India were also drawn along with Oman in the second round qualifiers of the 2018 World Cup. India next face Bangladesh at home on October 15, before travelling to Afghanistan on November 14 and Oman on November 19.

China, Maldives and Guam, which have played against the Azkals in recent years, landed in Group A together with powerhouse Syria and the Philippines during the draw held Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur.

Australia, who became the record fifth Asian team at a World Cup Finals after going through the Inter-Continental Play-off to earn a berth in Russian Federation 2018, will go up against Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait and Nepal in Group B.

The draw, conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions Christian Unger and Australian legend Tim Cahill, saw Asia's top ranked team Iran pooled in Group C alongside Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia. A fifth nation can advance to Qatar in an intercontinental playoff round in March 2022. The Sunil Chhetri-led team lost to Tajikistan and North Korea in the first two matches.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar is getting closer!

South Korea have played at every World Cup since 1986, a stretch of nine tournaments.

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