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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Asia’s hopefuls for FIFA World Cup 2026 discover their opponents

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Asian teams’ path to the FIFA World Cup 2026 was finalized following the conclusion of the draw for the round of top 18 qualifiers here on Thursday.

China was placed in Group C along with Indonesia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Japan.

Group B will see South Korea, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, and Kuwait vying for their spots, while Group A consists of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Qatar, and Iran.

The top two finishers from each of the three groups will secure their places at the FIFA World Cup 2026, while the third and fourth-placed teams from each group – six in total – will progress to the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to 26 Playoff. This playoff will be contested in two groups of three teams in a single round-robin format, with both group winners qualifying for the global showpiece.

The two second-placed finishers from the Playoff will face off in a home-and-away tie to earn the right to reach the Intercontinental Playoff and vie for the final available berth.

The AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to 26 will kick off on September 5, with the final round of matches scheduled for June 10, 2025.

The 2026 World Cup will be co-hosted by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. It will also be the first time that 48 teams will participate in the World Cup.

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