Asia's top football teams will soon start their quest for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after they find out their opponents when the draw of Asian Qualifiers Round 2 is to be held here next month.
The 40 teams will be drawn into eight groups of five teams and compete in a double round robin format both home and away, with matches to be held from September 5, 2019-June 9, 2020, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said Monday.
The draw will be held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on July 17, said the Asian football governing body.
The seedings for the draw will be based on the latest FIFA Rankings issued on June 14, 2019, with China led once again by Italian coach Marcello Lippi joining Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Qatar, the 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, China and Sri Lanka is still pending, said the AFC.
The World Cup Asian qualifiers will also serve as the qualifiers for AFC Asian Cup 2023 to be held in China.
The group winners and four best runners-up, making up a total of 12 teams, will advance to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 finals and the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
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.