Doha, Qatar, April 1, 2022: Five Asian sides, including tournament hosts Qatar, learned their group stage opponents at a glittering FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Final Draw ceremony at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre on Friday.
Qatar will kick off the tournament on Monday, November 21 against Ecuador after being drawn in Group A, which also features Senegal and the Netherlands.
Asian sides are in for a number of block-buster opening fixtures, with IR Iran to face England, Saudi Arabia to meet Argentina, Japan to battle Germany and Korea Republic to play their first match against Uruguay.
There may yet be a sixth Asian Football Confederation team among the completed Qatar 2022 field, with either Australia or the United Arab Emirates to advance to an inter-confederation playoff against Peru, with the winner of that match to begin their FIFA World Cup campaign against France.
Group A: Qatar (Ranking 51), Ecuador (46), Senegal (20), Netherlands (10)
Felix Sanchez’s side will have no fear in their opening match against Ecuador, but they face difficult battles against Senegal – in a match that will combine the champions of Africa and Asia – before facing the Netherlands in their final group match on November 29.
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Group B: England (5), IR Iran (21), United States (15), UEFA Playoff winner (TBA)
An opening match against UEFA Euro 2020 runners-up England will whet the appetite, and Team Melli will hope to repeat their 1998 victory of the United States, but they’ll have to wait until June to learn their third opponent, with Scotland, Ukraine or Wales the possible candidates.
Group C: Argentina (4), Saudi Arabia (49), Mexico (9), Poland (26)
So impressive in AFC Asian Qualifiers, Saudi Arabia will likely face Lionel Messi on Matchday One, and Robert Lewandowski four days later, with Mexico for company in their final group stage clash.
Group E: Spain (7), CONCACAF-OFC Playoff winner (TBA), Germany (12), Japan (23)
Japan will face a pair of European superpowers in Spain and Germany, with either Costa Rica or New Zealand to complete the quartet after their inter-confederation playoff in mid-June.
Group H: Portugal (8), Ghana (60), Uruguay (13), Korea Republic (29)
Appearing in their 10th consecutive FIFA World Cup, Korea Republic will kick off their knockout stage bid against Uruguay, before facing Ghana – the lowest ranked team in the draw – four days later, with head coach Paulo Bento’s homeland, Portugal, for company in the last of their group matches.
AUSTRALIA/UNITED ARAB EMIRATES*
Group D: France (3), AFC-CONMEBOL Playoff winner (TBA), Denmark (11), Tunisia (35)
Should Australia or United Arab Emirates win their way to the finals via an inter-confederation playoff victory over Peru, they will join defending champions France, as well as Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.