The second round draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers was held at the AFC House in Malaysia on Wednesday and the opponents and schedule of the IR Iran national team were revealed.
Team Melli, coached by former Belgium manager Marc Wilmots and the highest-ranked nation in Asia on the FIFA World Rankings, have been pitted in Group C where they will be joined by Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia as they look to make it to the showpiece international football event to be held in Qatar in 2022.
The draw pitted 40 nations, including Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia from the ASEAN region, who were drawn into eight groups of five teams each.
While Vietnam were the highest-ranked ASEAN side in the draw in Pot 2, Thailand and Philippines were in Pot 3. Malaysia and Myanmar were in Pot 4 while Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia found themselves among the lowest-ranked sides of Asia in Pot 5.
IR Iran fixtures in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
1. September 10, 2019 – Hong Kong vs IR Iran
2. October 10, 2019 – IR Iran vs Cambodia
3. October 15, 2019 – Bahrain vs IR Iran
4. November 14, 2019 – Iraq vs IR Iran
5. March 26, 2019 – IR Iran vs Hong Kong
6. March 31, 2020 – Cambodia vs IR Iran
7. June 4, 2020 – IR Iran vs Bahrain
8. June 9, 2020 – IR Iran vs Iraq
The second round of the World Cup and Asian Cup joint-qualifiers will commence on September 5, 2019 and conclude on June 9, 2020. The matches in the group stages will be held on an home-and-away basis with each nation playing eight games in total.
The eight group winners as well as the four best runners-up will qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 to be held in China as well as progress to the third and final round of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
The next best 24 teams from the second round of the joint-qualifiers will take part in a separate competition to claim the 12 remaining slots in 24-team 2023 Asian Cup to be held in China.