Nepal face tough World Cup QualifiersAlong with Asian powerhouse Australia, the South Asian minnows are drawn against Jordan for the joint qualifiers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup
Nepal face Asian powerhouse Australia, Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Kuwait in Group ‘B’ for the second round of Asian Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
The second round of Qualifiers for the football showpiece is set to take place from September 5 this year to June 9 next year. The fixtures will be revealed later on. Nepal directly made to the second round of the Qualifiers on the basis of their AFC rankings where they were placed in top 34th position.
The double round-robin Qualifiers will be played on home and away format. Altogether 40 teams of Asia are divided into eight groups of five teams each. The eight group winners and four best runners-up will secure places to the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Finals in China as well as the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The remaining 24, except for the four bottom placed teams, who fail to pass the joint Qualifiers hurdle will have another shot at earning tickets to the AFC Asian Cup. The 24 teams will fight it out for another 12 berths for the Asian Cup.
The 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar were drawn in Group ‘E’ alongside Bangladesh, Oman, India and Afghanistan. If Qatar win their group, the seven other group winners and five best second-placed sides will advance to the final round of qualifying for the World Cup.
Australia are among the strongest teams in Group ‘B.’ The Socceroos have made to the World Cup Finals on five occasions: 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 1974. Australia had qualified for the Finals in Russia (2018) after winning their inter-continental playoff match against Honduras.
Group ‘A’ consists of Asian Cup hosts China, Syria, Philippines, Maldives and Guam while Group ‘C’ comprises of Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia. Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen and Singapore are placed in Group ‘D’ while South Asian rivals Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Oman and Qatar are in Group ‘E’. Japan, another Asian football powerhouse, are drawn against Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Mongolia in Group ‘F’. Group 'G' consists of the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Of the five pot placed for seeding on the basis of their rankings issued on June 14, Nepal were placed at fifth pot alongside Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Guam and Sri Lanka. The draw was conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions Christian Unger and Australian legend Tim Cahill.
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