Group play for Asian Games football, in Seoul, South Korea this year, begins on September 14, as the UAE will begin on their quest to match or better their silver-medal finish in 2010.
UAE grouped with India and Jordan for Asian Games football
The UAE have been drawn in a group with India and Jordan for the football tournament at the Asian Games, organisers announced on Thursday.
Hosts South Korea were drawn with Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Laos in the group stage.
Among the other favourites for gold, defending champions Japan are grouped with Kuwait, Iraq and Nepal, while four-time winners Iran start their campaign in Group H with Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan.
The UAE were silver-medal winners at the last Asian Games, in Guangzhou, China in 2010. They lost the final four years ago to Japan, 1-0, after a run that saw them beat Kuwait, North Korea and South Korea.
The tournament kicks off on September 14, five days before the Asian Games open in Incheon, west of Seoul. The age limit for the men’s team is Under-23, with three overage players allowed.
Draws were also made for a range of other sports including rugby sevens, basketball and kabaddi, where India and Pakistan will play in the same group in the men’s tournament.
Wei Jizhong, honorary life vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), said the Games were a chance for the region to impress the world.
“With nearly 10,000 athletes and 5,000 officials, the Asian Games is nearly on the same scale as the Olympic Games,” he said.
“We can show to the world that Asia is in harmony and friendship.
“We are confident that the Incheon Asian Games will be very successful and show to the world the potential power of Asia.”
Two teams from each group advance to the 16-team knockout rounds. Jordan (ranked 56 by Fifa) and UAE (65) will be heavy favourites to advance over India, ranked 150th in the world.
The 29-team group stage is composed of five groups of four and three groups of three.
In the build-up to the event, UAE will travel to play Norway next Wednesday in Stavanger.
Group G: UAE, India, Jordan
Group A: South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Laos
Group B: Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Afghanistan
Group C: Oman, Palestine, Singapore, Tajikistan
Group D: Japan, Kuwait, Iraq, Nepal
Group E: Thailand, Maldives, Timor-Leste, Indonesia
Group F: North Korea, China, Pakistan
Group H: Iran, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan
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