KUALA LUMPUR // The UAE Olympic football team has been drawn against North Korea in the second-round of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The UAE will have the advantage of traveling to North Korea first on June 19, before completing two-legged tie four days later.
Elswhere, Iraq, who stole the limelight by making it to the semi-finals of the 2004 Athens Olympics under Adnan Hamad, are aiming to play in the Olympics for the fifth time after 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2004. But standing in their way are rivals Iran
Iran reached the quarter-finals of the 1976 Montreal Olympics and also qualified for the next edition in Moscow but did not take part in the finals. They are bidding to make it to the biggest sporting extravaganza for the fifth time after 1964, 1972, 1976 and 1980.
Japan, who have appeared eight times in the Olympics men’s football tournament, will host Kuwait in the first leg on June 19 before playing in Kuwait City four days later.
Australia will face Yemen in the second-round.
Asia were allotted 3.5 slots for the 2012 London Olympics men’s football tournament.
The 12 winners from Round 2 will be divided into three groups of four teams each in the third round.
Again, a home-and-away format from September 21, 2011, to March 14, 2012, will determine the winners who will represent the continent in the Olympics.
Three second-placed teams from the third round will clash in a play-off at a centralised venue from March 25 to 29, 2012, and the winners of this group will meet the representatives of CAF for a berth in the Olympics.
Qatar vs India
Iraq vs Iran
Bahrain vs Thailand
Australia vs Yemen
Japan vs Kuwait
Syria vs Turkmenistan
DPR Korea vs UAE
Korea Republic vs Jordan
Uzbekistan vs Hong Kong
Saudi Arabia vs Vietnam
China vs Oman
Lebanon vs Malaysia
The UAE's quest to reach the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil starts with a two-legged tie with India after the Asian Football Confederation's first and second round draws were made today.
“We are normally the better team and we are the favourite,” said Srecko Katenec, the national team coach after the draw was made. “But we must take these games seriously because in football you never know what can happen.”
The UAE failed to score a goal in the Asian Cup in January, but crushed India 5-0 in a friendly in November. The winner, on aggregate, from the home-and-away matches on July 23 and July 28 will join 19 other Asian nations in four qualifying groups of five. The winner of each group will advance to Brazil 2014.
The UAE have not played in the World Cup finals since 1990 in Italy. The country does not have to play in the first round, when 16 of Asia’s lowest-ranked sides open qualifying with home and away ties on June 29 and July 3.
Palestine will play its first 2014 World Cup qualifier at home after drawing Afghanistan in the opening round of Asian matches in June with the game scheduled to be played in Ramallah.
Palestine were eliminated four years ago when it could not fulfil an away leg in Singapore because of Israeli travel restrictions.
Forty-three teams will compete for Asia's four automatic slots in Brazil, plus an intercontinental play-off place.
In the first round, the 16 lowest-ranked teams play eight home-and-away matches on June 29 and July 3.
The UAE have not played in the World Cup final since 1990.
Malaysia v Taiwan
Bangladesh v Pakistan
Cambodia v Laos
Sri Lanka v Philippines
Afghanistan v Palestine
Vietnam v Macau
Nepal v East Timor
Mongolia v Myanmar
* First legs to be played on June 29. Second legs to be
played on July 3.
Thailand v Afghanistan or Palestine
Lebanon v Bangladesh or Pakistan
China v Cambodia or Laos
Turkmenistan v Indonesia
Kuwait v Sri Lanka or Philippines
Oman v Mongolia or Myanmar
Saudi Arabia v Hong Kong
Iran v Maldives
Syria v Tajikistan
Qatar v Vietnam or Macau
Iraq v Yemen
Singapore v Malaysia or Taiwan
Uzbekistan v Kyrgyzstan
United Arab Emirates v India
Jordan v Nepal or East Timor
* First legs to be played on July 23. Second legs to be
played on July 28.
* With agencies