Vietnam have been placed in the same group as regional favorites Japan and Australia in the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Along with Japan and Australia in Group B, Vietnam will face Saudi Arabia, China, and Oman as per the results of the virtual draw conducted by the Asian Football Confederation at 2:00 pm (Vietnam time) on Thursday.
The only Southeast Asian side are currently ranked 13th in Asia and 92nd in the world.
Japan, the continent’s top team, are at the 28th place in the FIFA World Rankings, while Saudi Arabia are 65th, China 77th, and Oman 80th.
The other group features Asia’s second-ranked Iran, South Korea, the UAE, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
The respective group winners and runners-up will seal their places at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The third-placed teams will advance to the Asian play-off to determine the side that will advance to the intercontinental play-off.
|The two groups of the final 2022 World Cup Asian qualification round. Photo: Asian Football Confederation|
The final round of the Asian qualifiers is scheduled to be played on the following ten match days: September 2 and 7, October 7 and 12, and November 11 and 16, 2021, as well as January 27 and February 1, 2022, before reaching its climax on March 24 and 29, 2022.
Japan have qualified for the World Cup six times, followed by Australia and Saudi Arabia, both five times, and China only once.
Vietnam and Oman have never qualified for the global showpiece before.
This is the first time that Vietnam have advanced to the final round of the World Cup Asian qualifiers.
They went unbeaten in seven games in the second qualifying stage and only lost 2-3 to the UAE in the final match last month, becoming one of the five best group runners-up and the only Southeast Asian representative in the final qualification round.