India will have to contend with three other teams in Group D in their bid to qualify for a second successive AFC Asian Cup. The draw for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, Final Round held virtually in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday. (More Football News)
In the draw which witnessed 24 national teams club into six groups, India were placed with Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia in Group D. India will also play host in the group.
India, the 1964 runners-up, returned to the continental tournament in 2019 after missing the 2015 edition. And the Sunil Chhetri-led Blue Tigers failed to make the knock-outs, finishing last in the four-team Group A which also featured the hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain.
Should India, the favourites, win the group, the AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be their fifth participation in the tournament.
India had also competed in 1984 and 2011 editions, where they finished last in the group stages.
India (104) are also the highest-ranked side in the group. Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia are ranked 148th, 150th and 171st respectively. India did manage to pull off a stunning 4-1 win against Thailand in their campaign opener before losing to UAE (0-2) and Bahrain (0-1).
How To Qualify
The six group winners and five best second-placed teams will qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023. Hosts China, Australia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Korea Republic, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam have already qualified for the finals.
The AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, Final Round will be held across three matchdays -- on June 8, 11 and 14, 2022.
The AFC Asian Cup 2023 in China kicks off on June 16, 2023.
AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, Final Round Groups
Group A: Jordan, Kuwait (H), Indonesia, Nepal
Group B: Palestine, Philippines, Yemen, Mongolia (H)
Group C: Uzbekistan (H), Thailand, Maldives, Sri Lanka
Group D: India (H), Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Cambodia
Group E: Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Malaysia (H), Bangladesh
Group F: Kyrgyz Republic (H), Tajikistan, Myanmar, Singapore