The final round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar™ begins on Thursday as the attention shifts to the leading 12 Asian countries vying to be among the world’s elite contending at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Following a gripping Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023™, Asia’s heavyweights will play for four coveted tickets to the global showpiece.
The 12 teams are divided into two groups of six, with the winners and runners-up of each group qualifying, while the third-placed teams will advance to the Asian playoff to determine the side that will advance to the intercontinental playoff
The action begins on September 2 with an exciting clash in Group A when FIFA World Cup regulars Korea Republic host Iraq in what is expected to be a thrilling duel at the Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8pm (local time).
The Islamic Republic of Iran, who are aiming for their sixth appearance in the FIFA World Cup, then face Syria, who are seeking to extend their fine form from Round 2 of the Asian Qualifiers, at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran at 8.30pm.
Meanwhile, Bert van Marwijk’s United Arab Emirates side will host Lebanon at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai at 8.45pm.
Group B is poised for more captivating battles when Japan, who were undefeated in Round 2 of the Asian Qualifiers, begin their bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the seventh consecutive time against Oman at the Suita City Football Stadium in Osaka at 7.14pm.
Saudi Arabia, a five-time FIFA World Cup participant, welcome the tenacious Vietnamese side who will be appearing in this decisive stage for the first time at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh at 9pm.
At the same time, Australia, looking to qualify for their sixth FIFA World Cup, go up against a resurgent China PR team at the neutral venue of the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
The AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar™ is scheduled to be played on 10 match days starting on September 2 and 7 followed by October 7 and 12, and November 11 and 16, 2021, as well as January 27 and February 1, 2022, before reaching its climax on March 24 and 29, 2022.
(Asian Football Confederation)