FIFA 2018 world cup qualifying stage has begun as today the official draw for qualifying round 1 is declared and 12 teams from Asia are going to take part in the first round. These participating nations are tied up in 6 pairs to face each other in a home and away game. The first leg match will be played on 12 March whereas second leg game to be held on 17 March.
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Top 6 teams will qualify for 2019 AFC Asian cup and forward for second round of Russia world cup 2018 qualification.
India to play their qualifying round 1 matches against Nepal and will play home game on 12 March at Guwahati. Indian coach Stephen Constantine believes that the draw is difficult for both Nepal and India. He says in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com that India haven’t played good football in recent time but now we are looking forward to make some happy moments for us.
He said, “I think it’s going to be a very difficult draw for both teams. India haven’t done very well in the past few years, and Nepal have made good strides forward, so it will be difficult. At this point in time, there isn’t a favourite, both teams are quite evenly matched and it will depend on who can make the home advantage count.”
“We have the first leg at home, that’s always nice. You know what you’ve got to do and when you go into the other game you know what you need to do to try and keep it,” he added.
Stephen Constantine also thinks that Pakistan and Yemen draw is a good one to watch out for. According to his expectations Sri Lanka will beat Bhutan to qualify for next round.
He said, “I think Yemen against Pakistan will be a very lively game. Both are good sides in this region. You would expect Sri Lanka to get through against Bhutan, but I’m just looking at our own game at the moment.”
“Everything now is geared towards this first game. We need to make sure we pick the right players and the right style of how we want to play,” he added.
2018 FIFA world cup qualifying round 1 / 2019 AFC Asian Cup
India v Nepal
Yemen v Pakistan
Timor-Leste v Mongolia
Cambodia v Macau
Chinese Taipei v Brunei Darussalam
Sri Lanka v Bhutan