A guide to the second round draw of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

The second round draw of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup is slated to take place on Wednesday at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur. The 40 participating nations of Asia will soon find out which opponents they have to face en route to the mega tournaments taking place in Qatar and China, respectively.

Based on their FIFA World Rankings, the countries have been divided into five different pots and will be drawn into eight groups, each having five teams apiece. The qualifiers will kick-start from September 5, 2019, and carry on till June 9, 2020, taking place during all the international windows present through the calendar year.

The group stages will be played in a double round-robin format, following which the eight group winners will advance to the final round of qualifying, alongside the top four runners-up. These teams will also automatically qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023. Out of these 12 teams, the four best teams will secure themselves a spot at the World Cup, while the fifth nation will battle it out in the intercontinental play-offs.

India finds themselves in Pot 3 alongside the likes of Thailand, Tajikistan, DPR Korea, Bahrain, Palestine, Philippines and Chinese Taipei. After the conclusion of the 2019 King’s Cup and the recent 2019 Hero Intercontinental Cup, a lot would be expected from the Blue Tigers’ head coach Igor Stimac, who has had a fairly good idea of the Indian squad ahead of his next big assignment.

Here’s a look at the five pots and the countries under each one of them:

Pot 1 | Australia, China, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Qatar, United Arab Emirates

Pot 2 | Iran, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Pot 3 | INDIA, Bahrain, Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea, Palestine, Philippines, Tajikistan, Thailand

Pot 4 | Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, Yemen

Pot 5 | Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka

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