Head coach of Iran’s national football team Marc Wilmots said that Iran does not have an easy draw in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
“First of all, I should say that this is not an easy draw for Team Melli,” he said, Iranian football federation reported. Rivals will certainly come to the field with all their power and we will see a high-level competition, he added.
Team Melli is pooled in Group C of the second round of qualifiers alongside Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia.
Asked about which team would be Iran’s main rival in the group, Wilmots said Iran respects all its rivals. “We only have one aim and that constantly striving to win the group.”
In this stage, 40 teams are divided into eight groups of five teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. 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 where they will be divided into two groups of six. The two top teams of each group bring home the quota for FIFA World Cup while third teams will compete for a playoff match against a yet-to-be-determined team from another continent.
The second round of qualifications will start on September 5, 2019, and will wrap up on June 9, 2020.
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.
Iran’s fixtures in the second round of qualifications:
September 10, 2019: Hong Kong vs Iran
October 10, 2019: Iran vs Cambodia
October 15, 2019: Bahrain vs Iran
November 14, 2019: Iraq vs Iran
March 26, 2020: Iran vs Hong Kong
March 31, 2020: Cambodia vs Iran
June 4, 2020: Iran vs Bahrain
June 9, 2020: Iran vs Iraq
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