Asia World Cup qualifying: What’s next?

30 Jun 2021
  • 12 teams in Asia are still in contention to qualify for the World Cup

  • Round 3 draw to take place on 1 July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • FIFA.com breaks down everything you need to know

The path to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ has reached a pivotal stage in Asia.

Twelve teams have qualified for the third round after a nearly two-year long journey in Round 2. Group winners Syria (A), Australia (B), IR Iran (C), Saudi Arabia (D), Japan (F), United Arab Emirates (G) and Korea Republic (H) will be joined by the five best runners-up: China PR (A), Oman (E), Iraq (C), Vietnam (G) and Lebanon (H). Qatar finished as winners of Group E, but as hosts have already qualified for the World Cup and will not participate in the next round of qualifying.

What's next?

The 12 teams will be split into two groups of six in a home-and-away, round robin format. The winners and runners-up in each group (four total) will qualify directly for the World Cup finals, while the third-placed teams will advance to the fourth round, where they will play to determine which team will advance to the intercontinental play-off.

When's the draw?

The third round draw will be conducted on 1 July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Games in the third round are scheduled to be played on the following match days: 2 September 2021, 7 September 2021, 7 October 2021, 12 October 2021, 11 November 2021, 16 November 2021, 27 January 2022, 1 February 2022, 24 March 2022 and 29 March 2022.

How will the seedings for the draw work?

FIFA released a special FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking specifically for Asia on 18 June 2021, which will be used to determine the seeding for the draw. Qatar, while ranked fifth in this ranking and winners of Group E in Round 2, will not be participating in the third round.

How will the draw work?

Teams will be divided into six pots according to the FIFA Ranking published on 18 June 2021: Pot 1: Teams ranked 1-2, Pot 2: 3-4, Pot 3: 5-6, Pot 4: 7-8, Pot 5: 9-10, Pot 6: 11-12. The pot number corresponds to the position the team will be placed in the group.

The first and second ball drawn from each pot will be placed in Groups A and B respectively. The draw will begin with Pot 6, where the first ball drawn will be placed in position A6. The next ball drawn will be placed in position B6, until the sequence is completed all the way through to Pot 1.