KATHMANDU, July 18: Nepal national football team has been pitted in Group B in the second round of the 2022 AFC World Cup Qualifiers.
In the AFC World Cup preliminary competition draw organized in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, head coach Johan Kalin’s team is pitted with Asian giant Australia, Jordan, Chinese Taipei, and Kuwait in the group.
The draw was conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions Christian Unger and Australian legend Tim Cahill.
According to the draw, the second round qualifiers matches will be played from September 5 this year till June 9 of 2020.
A total of 40 Asian teams will contest with the teams of their own groups in the second round and will play in home and away round format. The teams are divided into eight groups of five each.
After the completion of the second round, the group winners of each group along with four out of eight runners-up will enter the third round, which is also the final round. They will also get chance to enter the group stages of the Asian Cup. Likewise, the other teams can take part in the Asian Cup as well via several stages of playoff rounds considering their final group rankings.
If Qatar wins its group, only the seven other group winners and five best runners-up will advance to the final round of the qualifiers for the World Cup finals.
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. Nepal got a chance to directly enter the second round after managing to fit itself in the top 34 of the AFC Rankings, finishing just a place of Malaysia, who defeated Timor-Leste 5-1 on aggregate to enter the second round.
This is just the second time Nepal has got a chance to play in the second round after starting to play the World Cup Qualifiers since 1986. Nepal had played in the second round in the 2014 edition after it defeated Timor-Leste 7-1 on aggregate in the first round. However, it was defeated 10-1 on aggregate in the second round.