The FIFA World Cup 2018 is just 41 days to go. But, it’s not just the greatest show on earth that is brewing on the horizon. The AFC Asian Cup 2019, to be held in UAE is also inching near.
The Premier Football Competition between the Asian Nations will kick off at the Gulf Nation on January 5 2019. The culmination to this great event will see the Asian Champions bring crowned on the 1st of February.
The Official Draw for the AFC Asian Cup was held at the Armani Hotel Ballroom of the Burj Khalifa, at Dubai on 4th May 2018.
AFC had earlier released the Drawing Pots for the 24 qualified teams. The top 5 ranked teams were kept in the first pot alongside the hosts UAE. The other 6 teams who qualified to the tournament by the end of the second qualifying round were consequently placed in the second pot. The other 12 qualified teams were placed in the remaining two pots, on the basis of their AFC and FIFA Rankings.
The Pot 1 consisted of Australia, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the hosts United Arab Emirates.
The Pot 2 consisted of China, Syria, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Qatar and Thailand.
India was in Pot 3 alongside Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman and Vietnam.
North Korea, Philippines, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Turkmenistan constituted the Pot 4.
By the virtue of being the hosts, UAE were drawn in Group A by default. Australia, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Japan were drawn in Groups B, C, D, E and F respectively. By the end of the draw, The Groups Looked like the Following:
Group A: 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates, 🇹🇭 Thailand, 🇮🇳India, 🇧🇭Bahrain.
Group B: 🇦🇺 Australia, 🇸🇾 Syria, 🇵🇸 Palestine, 🇯🇴 Jordan.
Group C: 🇰🇷 South Korea, 🇨🇳 China, 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan, 🇵🇭 Philippines.
Group D: 🇮🇷 Iran, 🇮🇶 Iraq, 🇻🇳 Vietnam, 🇾🇪 Yemen.
Group E: 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia, 🇶🇦 Qatar, 🇱🇧 Lebanon, 🇰🇵 North Korea.
Group F: 🇯🇵 Japan, 🇺🇿 Uzbekistan, 🇴🇲 Oman, 🇹🇲 Turkmenistan.
From the final results of the AFC Asian Cup draw, it is safe to say that India got one of the easiest possible groups, that was on offer. The lowest ranked teams from both the top 2 pots are in India’s group, with the 3rd best team in the 4th pot for company.
Old rivals and neighbors Iran and Iraq will renew their rivalry when they play each other in their respective first matches. The tie sure will be exciting, following last time’s controversial quarter final encounter.
War struck countries of Syria and Palestine will be in the same group as will be fierce Political rivals and neighbors Saudi Arabia and Qatar in another.
Former parts of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan and debutantes Turkmenistan will also feature in one group.
The tournament will kick off on 5th January, 2019, when UAE will play Thailand at the iconic Zayed Sports City Stadium. India play Bahrain in their first match on the very next day, at the Al Nahyan Stadium.