Thailand to face hosts UAE; tough tests for Vietnam, Philippines

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Thailand will take on hosts United Arab Emirates in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup quest after being drawn in Group A on Friday evening.

The War Elephants’ quest to reach the knockout round of Asia’s premier international competition – which kicks off on January 5, 2019 – will see them face off against UAE, India and Bahrain.

While the hosts will pose a real test, Thailand coach Milovan Rajevac is likely to be satisfied with the outcome of the draw, with India and Bahrain shaping up as two very winnable matches.

However, debutants Philippines will have to do it the hard way if they are to qualify from the group stage after being put in Group C, where they will meet giants Korea Republic, China PR and fellow new boys Kyrgyz Republic.

Finally, Southeast Asia’s third representatives Vietnam were also handed a tough route to the Round of 16 with matches against IR Iran, Iraq and Yemen awaiting them in Group D.

GROUP A: United Arab Emirates, Thailand, India, Bahrain

GROUP B: Australia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan

GROUP C: Korea Republic, China PR, Kyrgyz Republic, Philippines

GROUP D: IR Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Yemen

GROUP E: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, DPR Korea

GROUP F: Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Turkmenistan