With 204 member associations still in the race for a berth at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, AFC House in Kuala Lumpur is set to take centre stage on 17 July 2019, when 40 Asian member associations will learn their fate during the draw for the second round of the AFC preliminary competition.
The 40 member associations will be drawn into eight groups of five teams and compete in a double round-robin format, with matches to be held from 5 September 2019 to 9 June 2020. Based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of 14 June 2019, the five pots are as follows:
Pot 1: IR Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China PR
Pot 2: Iraq, Uzbekistan, Syria, Oman, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, Jordan
Pot 3: Palestine, India, Bahrain, Thailand, Tajikistan, Korea DPR, Chinese Taipei, Philippines
Pot 4: Turkmenistan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Yemen, Afghanistan, Maldives, Kuwait, Malaysia
Pot 5: Indonesia, Singapore, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Guam, Sri Lanka
A total of 12 teams (the group winners and the four best runners-up) will advance to the AFC Asian Cup China PR 2023 and the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The four best teams in the final qualifying round will secure a spot at the global showpiece, with a fifth team going through to the intercontinental play-offs (Qatar are not permitted to advance to the final qualifying round because, as hosts, they have already qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022).
Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Pakistan, Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Macau are already out of the race following their respective defeats against Mongolia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka in the first round of the preliminary competition in June.
All other FIFA member associations are in contention for one of the 31 FIFA World Cup 2022 berths that are still up for grabs.
The road to Qatar is set to come to a close in March 2022. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will kick off on 21 November, with the final scheduled for 18 December.