War Elephants to face neighbours in World Cup qualifiers


Wednesday's draw involving 40 national teams was sure to test some political sensitivities, and Saudi Arabia and Yemen were also put in the same group.

Qatar, the World Cup hosts, are the highest ranked team in their group at 67. Top-ranked Iran was drawn with neighbouring Iraq, plus Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia, in Group C. Here's how the social media reacted when they found out that ASEAN rivals Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia have been put in the same group.

Australia, which plays in the Asian region, will play Jordan, Taiwan, Kuwait and Nepal in Group B.

"We are happy with our draw", Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said. As forty teams got drawn against each other, some were put alongside a familiar unit.

"We have worked with 80 players across the Socceroos and Olyroos over the past year, so I believe with the depth that we have we are well positioned to deal with the qualifiers".

DSport will broadcast the Round 2 draw for the Asian qualifiers to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 preliminary competition. India next face Bangladesh at home on October 15, before travelling to Afghanistan on November 14 and Oman on November 19.

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Also joining the Azkals and China in Group A are Syria, the Maldives and Guam.

Japan starts its path to a seventh straight World Cup tournament in Group F with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Mongolia.

Once the draws are announced, all teams will compete in a double round-robin format - home and away - which will take place from September 5, 2019, to June 9, 2020. The teams that finish in third place will also reach the Asian Cup qualifying third round, where they will be joined by the four best fourth-placed teams. A fifth nation can advance to Qatar in an intercontinental playoff round in March 2022.

Oman are 86th, and were in India's group during the last round of qualification too. The four Southeast Asia giants were all put in Group G by the Australian football legend, much to the delight of the dignitaries present.

Group C: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia.

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