UAE will be the first team in Pot 1 of the Asian Cup 2019 when the draw is made in Dubai next month
Asian Cup 2019: Hosts UAE drawn in Pot 1 and will play opening match
UAE will be the first team in Pot 1 of the Asian Cup 2019 when the draw is made in Dubai next month.
As a result the tournament hosts will play the opening match of the tournament on January 5, 2019, at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The 12 teams who reached the final round of qualifying in Asia for the 2018 World Cup also secured their place in the 2019 Asian Cup and are placed in Pots 1 and 2. Their spots were allocated following Thursday’s publication of the latest Fifa ranking. The other 12 teams qualified from the recently concluded Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers final round and have been seeded in Pots 3 and 4 and positioned based on the same rankings.
Alongside the UAE in Pot 1 are Iran, defending champions Australia, the tournament’s most successful nation Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. China, Syria, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Qatar and Thailand are in Pot 2.
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Kyrgyzstan, who will make their debut in the 2019 tournament, were the biggest movers in world football in the Fifa Ranking - up 40 places to 75. The central Asian country take their place in Pot 3 alongside Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, India and Vietnam. North Korea, Philippines, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Turkmenistan make up the final six teams in Pot 4.
The 2019 tournament has been expanded from 16 to 24 teams with six groups of four teams each, with the top two and four best third-placed teams advancing to the last 16.
The draw takes place at the Armani Hotel in Dubai at 7.30pm on May 4.