The first round draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar will also double as a qualification leg for the 2023 Asian Cup, and will involve 12 Asian teams.
The teams that will go into the hat are Malaysia, Cambodia, Macau, Laos, Bhutan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Guam, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – AFC-affiliated teams ranked from number 35 to 46 in the FIFA world rankings.
These teams will be matched up against each other into 6 pairs during today’s draw, where they will play a home and away leg to determine 6 winners.
Those 6 winners will progress to the second qualification round to join the number 1 to number 34 ranked Asian teams to make it into a pool of 40 teams, that will go on to be divided into 8 groups of 5 each.
Out of these groups, the 8 group winners and the 4 best runners-up will all qualify for the third round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar and for the finals of the 2023 Asian Cup as well.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa had this to say on Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the fellow participating Asian teams:
“As we have seen in the last year, Qatar is leaving nothing to chance in staging a truly magnificent spectacle”.
“And what better way to kick-start this exciting journey, than right here in our great Continent. On behalf of the Asian football family, I wish all our teams the very best of luck and I am confident we will witness another thrilling qualifying campaign,” he said.
As hosts of the tournament, Qatar will automatically qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament. Apart from them, 4 direct qualification spots and 1 decided by an inter-confederation play-off will be allocated for Asian teams in the tournament. Today’s draw will kick off the proceedings that will eventually go on to determine which teams will fill those spots.