Asia will begin the race to the FIFA World Cup 2014™. Ahead of the Preliminary Draw in Brazil on 30 July 2011, teams from the Asian continent will contest a preliminary round of matches. The draw for this first round takes place on 30 March 2011 at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.
The first round will consist of eight home-and-away series, featuring the 16 lowest-ranked teams in Asia. The winners of these series will then proceed to a second round.
The draw will take into account the new rankings in the Asian Confederation. These rankings are based on the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa finals as well as the Asian qualifying rounds for the main tournament. The final number of entries was confirmed by FIFA, whereby all teams entered the qualifiers save Bhutan and Guam, who declined the invitation, and Brunei Darussalam, who are still suspended.
Newly crowned Asian champions Japan are the top-ranked team, followed in second place by Korea Republic. Both these sides reached the Round of 16 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Australia and DPR Korea - the two other Asian teams that played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup - and 2010 FIFA World Cup Asian play-off participants Bahrain round out the top five.
Brunei DS, who are currently suspended by FIFA, are the only team not ranked among AFC’s 46 Member Associations.
Rankings for the FIFA World Cup 2014 Asian Qualifiers Round 1
2. Korea Republic,
4. DPR Korea,
6. Saudi Arabia,
16, China PR,
23. Hong Kong,
29-30. Afghanistan, Cambodia,
33-34. Sri Lanka, Vietnam,
38. Timor Leste,
40-41. Chinese Taipei, Myanmar,
42-43. The Philippines, Laos
Suspended: Brunei DS
Not participating: Bhutan, Guam.