Sports Football 23 Jan 2017 India given hope for ...

India given hope for 2019 Asian Cup with easier draw

AP
Published Jan 23, 2017, 9:39 pm IST
Updated Jan 23, 2017, 9:39 pm IST
India, coached by Englishman Stephen Constantine, have to finish in the top two to reach the 2019 Asia Cup finals in UAE.
India have a brilliant chance to qualify for the Asia Cup, which is expanding from 16 to 24 teams in the 2019 edition, which is to be held in UAE. (Photo: AFP)
 India have a brilliant chance to qualify for the Asia Cup, which is expanding from 16 to 24 teams in the 2019 edition, which is to be held in UAE. (Photo: AFP)

Abu Dhabi: India were handed a chance to qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup on Monday, placed in a group containing Macau, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan at a draw held in Abu Dhabi.

India, coached by Englishman Stephen Constantine, have to finish in the top two to reach the continental competition, which begins in January 2019 in the United Arab Emirates.

 

Read: We need to play more friendlies: Stephen Constantine

The 12 nations that reached the third round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup have already sealed their spots at the Asian Cup, meaning that continental giants such as Australia, South Korea and Japan were absent from the draw.

With the tournament expanding from 16 teams in 2015 to 24, that leaves 12 places open.

Read: Stephen Constantine heaps praises on Sunil Chhetri

Jordan is the highest-ranked team that has to qualify and will take on Cambodia, Vietnam and an Afghanistan team looking to appear at the Asian Cup for the very first time.

 

North Korea have been drawn with Lebanon, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Australia are the current champions, defeating South Korea in the final of the 2015 tournament in Sydney. The qualifiers will kick off on March 28.

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