AFC Asian Cup 2019: India clubbed with UAE, Thailand and Bahrain

Hannah Rogers
May 6, 2018

"But I heard that people are saying that our group is not hard, but whoever qualified to the Asian Cup Finals, they are strong and they have quality".

The first teams of New Zealand, South Africa and Chinese Taipei will feature alongside Stephen Constantine's boys in the tournament.

Next year it will be the first time that 24 teams will feature in the tournament that will be played over 28 days.

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Australia and Jordan have faced each other four times - all in World Cup qualifying - with each side winning two games, while Syria's gallant but eventually unsuccessful bid to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in Russian Federation has made football fans sit up and take notice. "We have always been a force to be reckoned with in the AFC Asian Cup but the recent results give me confidence that we will win the title for the fourth time", said Daei. But if you look at this draw it is pretty easy and India have a good chance. They had finished runners-up in 1964 and were ousted from group stages in 1984 and 2011. "But I still feel we have a chance to get something out from this group". Although India have improved in the rankings (ahead of Bahrain and Thailand), the true picture will not be reflected till India play regular matches against quality teams. The last official contest between South Korea and the Philippines was in 1980 where the former won 8-0.

The standards of the other teams are high, we do have a chance against Thailand but the match against UAE will be tough. "It's a big honour to be hosts, but it will be very, very hard". India qualified for the 2011 edition of the tournament but could not make it beyond the group stages in Qatar.

The expanded tournament will see 24 teams battle it out for a five million dollar top prize along with a brand new trophy, which was also unveiled at the draw on Friday.

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