South Korea to face North Korea as groups finalized for 2022 World Cup


Kuala Lumpur: South Korea and North Korea will face off in the Round Two draw of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The two Koreas were drawn in Group H alongside Lebanon, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka. The draw, conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions Christian Unger and Australian legend Tim Cahill, was held on the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the headquarters of the Asian Football Confederation, the AFC said. South Korea who have appeared in every edition of the FIFA World Cup Finals since 1986 played against North Korea in the qualification matches for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Japan, Asia’s best performers in the 2018 FIFA World Cup where they were defeated by Belgium in the Round of 16, were drawn in Group F with Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Myanmar, and Mongolia. Iran, aiming for a third consecutive appearance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, were pooled in Group C alongside Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, and Cambodia. Saudi Arabia, another Asian team who qualified for the 2018 Russia World Cup, will face Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, and Singapore in Group D. Australia, who became the record fifth Asian team at a World Cup Finals after going through the Inter-Continental Playoff to earn a berth in Russia 2018, will go up against Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait and Nepal in Group B. China, the host for the AFC Asian Cup 2023, will have to navigate past Syria, Philippines, Maldives and Guam in Group A their bid for a second appearance in the FIFA World Cup Finals.

In Group G, ASEAN rivals Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia were all drawn together, with the United Arab Emirates completing the cast. Qatar, who will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, were drawn in Group E alongside Bangladesh, Oman, India, and Afghanistan in their bid to defend the AFC Asian Cup they won in the UAE in February. The eight group winners and four best runners-up will advance to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals and the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

However, should Qatar win their group, the seven other group winners and five best second-placed sides will advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the AFC said in its statement? The next best 24 teams from the second round of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

The draw:

Group A: China, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam

Group B: Australia, Jordan, Taiwan, Kuwait, Nepal

Group C: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia

Group D: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore

Group E: Bangladesh, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Qatar

Group F: Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia

Group G: United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia

Group H: South Korea, Lebanon, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka

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