The official draw for the second round of 2018 FIFA world cup qualifiers have been declared today at Kuala Lumpur. 40 participating Asian teams will play these qualifier matches from June 2015 to March 2016. These teams are grouped into the eight groups as each group consists five nations. Indian football team is placed in group D whereas 2015 Asian Cup winners Australia are placed in Group B.
In these 40 teams, six teams came from the first round qualification. Winners of all 8 groups will qualify for the final round of qualification for Russia world cup and best 4 runners up from these groups will make it through next round. Hence 12 teams will enter to the next round of 2018 world cup after second round completion. These 12 teams will also qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 which will be hosted by United Arab Emirates.
FIFA world cup qualifiers second round draw was held at JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Head of FIFA world cup & Olympic Qualifiers Gordon Savic and AFC General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay were the main officials present in the event.
Alex Soosay said, “The journey to Russia begins today.Six member associations have made it from Round 1 into the 40 and we congratulate them. The new format now is more inclusive than what it was before, the lower and higher ranked teams will play each other and that augurs well for the future development of our national teams. Let’s work together to raise the standards to face the challenges that Asian teams will face in Russia.”
Gordon Savic said, “It’s a joint preliminary competition for Russia 2018 and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.It’s a new, exciting and unprecedented journey for two premier competitions at the same time. Please prepare and deliver all the matches under the umbrella of Fair Play and Sportsmanship both on and around the field of play.”
United Arab Emirates, Australia, China PR, Iran, Japan, Iraq, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan are the top seeds in eight groups A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H respectively.
The draw results are:
Group A: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Timor Leste, Malaysia
Group B: Australia, Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh
Group C: China PR, Qatar, Maldives, Bhutan, Hong Kong
Group D: Iran, Oman, India, Turkmenistan, Guam
Group E: Japan, Syria, Afghanistan, Singapore, Cambodia
Group F: Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei
Group G: Korea Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Laos
Group H: Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Philippines, Korea DPR, Yemen