TEAMS FOR FINAL ROUND OF AFC ASIAN CUP UAE 2019 QUALIFIERS CONFIRMED
Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has on Thursday confirmed the list of 24 teams to be included in the draw for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers Final Round. The draw, which will place the teams into six groups of four, will take place on January 23, 2017, in Abu Dhabi.
Kuwait, one of the third-placed teams from the Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2, was suspended by FIFA on October 16, 2015. Since the deadline of January 11, 2017 for lifting the suspension has now passed, as decided by the AFC Competitions Committee, Kuwait are not eligible to participate in the competition.
Guam, one of the best fourth-placed teams from the Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2, has announced its withdrawal from the competition.
In order to maintain 24 teams in the competition, the AFC Competitions Committee decided December 20, 2016 to invite the two highest-ranked teams of the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016, champions Nepal and runners-up Macau, to replace Kuwait and Guam respectively.
24 teams will be divided into 6 groups of four during the draw and the matches will be played during the Official FIFA days from March 28, 2017 to March 27, 2018.
Winner and runner-up of each group - total of 12 teams - will qualify to the final competition of AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. They will join the other 12 teams that have already qualified to the Final Competition (Australia, China PR, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts United Arab Emirates).
The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will be played among 24 teams after its expansion from a previous 16-team competition played in Australia in 2015.