The draw for the first and second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was carried out today at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Unlike last time India has been given a first round bye, but in Round 2 they will have to face the United Arab Emirates first away in the UAE on July 23 and then at home on July 28.
A tough fixture for India to take on the UAE, who are currently 111th in the FIFA World rankings. In their last friendly in November 2010 the UAE had trashed India 5-0, but there are good memories for India as they had beaten the UAE on April 8, 2001 in Bangalore 1-0 in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier, but draws against Yemen halted India's progress.
One will have to see if Bob Houghton will be still India coach in July, but if he is then Bob will bring back some of the senior players that he rested in last weeks 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers plus keep some of the younger players.
Coming to the qualifiers, the 16 lowest ranked teams – based on their record at the qualification campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup – were paired off to play home and away matches with the winners advancing to Round 2. Then the eight winners from Round 1 will join 22 higher ranked teams where the teams were paired off for home-and-away matches on July 23 and 28.
Before the 15 winners from the second round will join the top five direct entrants (Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, Bahrain) in the third round where they will be divided into five groups of four teams each.
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil – Asian Qualifiers
Malaysia vs. Chinese Taipei
Bangladesh vs. Pakistan
Cambodia vs. Laos
Sri Lanka vs. Philippines
Afghanistan vs. Palestine
Vietnam vs. Macau
Nepal vs. Timor Leste
Mongolia vs. Myanmar
First leg, June 29
Second leg, July 3
Thailand vs. Afghanistan/Palestine
Lebanon vs. Bangladesh/Pakistan
China vs. Cambodia/Laos
Turkmenistan vs. Indonesia
Kuwait vs. Sri Lanka/Philippines
Oman vs. Mongolia/Myanmar
Saudi Arabia vs. Hong Kong
Iran vs. Maldives
Syria vs. Tajikistan
Qatar vs. Vietnam/Macau
Iraq vs. Yemen
Singapore vs. Malaysia/Chinese Taipei
Uzbekistan vs. Kyrgyzstan
UAE vs. India
Jordan s. Nepal/Timor Leste
First leg, July 23
Second leg, July 28
September 2, September 6, October 11, November 11, November 15, 2011; February 29, 2012
June 3, June 8, June 12, September 11, October 16, November 14, 2012; March 26, June 4, June 11, June 18, 2013
Round 5 (AFC playoff)
September 6 and September 10, 2013
Round 6 (Inter-continental playoff)
October 15 and November 19, 2013