UAE to face Bahrain in 2019 Asian Cup opener

AFC Asian Cup Draw : As It Happened
Azkals drawn fairly in their Asian Cup debut

07 May, 2018

Asian Cup titleholder Australia faces Syria, a team the Socceroos defeated in a World Cup playoff in October, as well as Palestine and Jordan.

Chhetri said his team needs the best of preparations to make it count in the January 5 to February 1 event in the United Arab Emirates next year after crashing out of the group stage in the 2011 edition - the last time India played in the prestigious event - by losing all their matches with big margins.

In Group E, two time champions Saudi Arabia have been drawn with 2011 hosts Qatar, Lebanon, who will be returning to the competition for only the second time after a 19 year absence as well as DPR Korea.

Korea Republic, China, Kyrgyz Republic and the Philippines made up Group C, while Iran, Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen were in Group D.

India will play 2 games in Abu Dhabi and one game will be played at Sharjah.

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The ultimate winners at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Feb.1, 2019, will receive an impressive $5 million.

The top two teams qualify for the knockout stage while the third placer may advance if it finishes as one of the four best teams with similar placings from the six groups.

The runners-up in the richest-ever Asian Cup will pocket $3 million while all 24 teams taking part will be awarded $200,000 for merely qualifying. All 24 participating teams will also receive $200,000. We were really happy to be at the Asian Cup. "I won't say it's an easy group but we have the ability to win against some of these teams and on our day, we can beat majority", Constantine, who attended the draw along with team manager Shanmugam Venkatesh, said.

Iran is Asia's top side in the FIFA World Ranking and were also the first team from the Continent to seal a place in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, confirming their place last June. "It is not", he said on the sidelines of an initiative by KIA Motors India to select two school children as official match ball carriers for the upcoming World Cup in Russian Federation.

The first match featuring Molten balls will kick off on January 5, 2019 at the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 - an event that enjoys a television reach of more than two billion people.

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