Kuala Lumpur: Asia's top football teams will soon start their quest for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar as they would know their opponents in the Asian Qualifiers Round 2 when the schedules will be announced here next month.
As many as 40 teams will be drawn into eight groups of five teams each and will compete in a double round robin format (home and away) from September 5, 2019 to June 9, 2020, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The draw will be held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on July 17, said the Asian football's governing body.
The seedings for the draw will be based on the latest FIFA Rankings issued on June 14 with China joining Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as top seeds.
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guam, Malaysia and Mongolia have advanced to Round 2 after defeating their respective opponents in Round 1 of the qualifiers. The decision on the outcome of the match between Macau and Sri Lanka is still pending, the AFC said.
The Asian qualifiers will also serve as the qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 to be held in China. A total of 12 teams, the group winners and four best runner-ups, will advance to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup final and the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Meanwhile, the next best 24 teams will compete in a separate round of qualifiers to fight for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team Asian Cup.
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