Iran Discovers Fate in 2026 World Cup Qualifiers

Iran Discovers Fate in 2026 World Cup Qualifiers

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The continent's path to the FIFA World Cup 2026 was finalized following the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup 26 Preliminary Draw – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road To 26 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.

– Sports news –

The 18 teams were divided into three groups, with eight confirmed berths and a possible additional spot via a playoff available for Asia at the FIFA World Cup 2026 to be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia and Palestine are making their debuts at this stage of the AFC Asian Qualifiers.

Group A will see top seeds Iran challenged by reigning AFC Asian Cup champion Qatar, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and DPR Korea.

Iran is seeking its sixth appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

Korea Republic leads the Group B cast with Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine and Kuwait also in the hunt for the two automatic spots to the Finals.

Korea will be the favorites, having made 10 consecutive FIFA World Cup appearances since 1986.

Heading Group C will be Japan, who is seeking to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the eighth consecutive time.

Standing in its way will be Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China PR and Indonesia.

The top two finishers from the three groups will confirm their places at the FIFA World Cup 2026 while the third and fourth-placed teams from each group – six in total – will progress to the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to 26 Playoff, to be contested in two groups of three teams in a single round robin format, with both group winners qualifying for the global showpiece.

The two second-placed finishers from the Playoff will face off in a home and away tie to earn the right to reach the Intercontinental Playoff and vie for the final available berth.

The AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to 26 will kick off on September 5 with the final round of matches scheduled for June 10, 2025.

Source: Tasnim News