Asia's top football teams will soon start their quest for top honors in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after they learn who their opponents will be in the draw for the Asian Qualifiers Round 2 next month.
The 40 teams will be drawn into eight groups of five teams and compete in a double round robin format both at home and away, with matches to be held from September 5, 2019 to June 9, 2020, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said Monday.
The draw will be held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on July 17.
The seedings for the draw will be based on the FIFA Rankings issued on June 14, 2019. China is led once again by Italian coach Marcello Lippi joining Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia as top seeds.
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guam, Malaysia and Mongolia have advanced to Round 2 after defeating their respective opponents in Round 1 of the qualifiers. The decision on the outcome of the match between Macao, China and Sri Lanka is still pending, said the AFC.
The World Cup Asian qualifiers will also serve as the qualifiers for AFC Asian Cup 2023 to be held in China.
The group winners and four best runners-up, making up a total of 12 teams, will advance to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 finals and the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Meanwhile, the next best 24 teams will compete in a separate round of qualifiers to fight for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team Asian Cup.