First Round/Preliminary draw : 10. February 2015
Draw for the 12 lowest ranked countries in Asia . They meet in home and away matches in March
Second Round draw : 11. April 2015
40 countries in Asia , 8 groups of 5.
Matches start in June. Philippines will be in First Round.
Sources : UAE and Japan FA website
Seedings will probably be based on FIFA rankings.
The qualification structure is as follows:
- First round (Preliminary round): The lowest ranked teams will play home-and-away over two legs to reduce the total number of teams to 40.
- Second round: The 40 teams will be divided into eight groups of five to play home-and-away round-robin matches, where the eight group winners and the four best group runners-up will advance to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification as well as qualify for the AFC Asian Cup finals.
- Third round: The 12 teams (an increase from 10 for 2014) will be divided into two groups of six to play home-and-away round-robin matches. Dependent on the number of qualifiers from the AFC, the top two teams of each group will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the two third placed teams will advance to the fourth round.
- Fourth round: Dependent on the number of qualifiers from the AFC, the two third-placed teams in each group from the third round will play against each other home-and-away over two legs to determine which team will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
Source : Wikipedia