UAE to face Bahrain in 2019 Asian Cup opener

AFC Asian Cup Draw : As It Happened
Azkals drawn fairly in their Asian Cup debut

07 May, 2018

Chhetri said his team needs the best of preparations to make it count in the January 5 to February 1 event in the United Arab Emirates next year after crashing out of the group stage in the 2011 edition - the last time India played in the prestigious event - by losing all their matches with big margins.

This is for the first time that an Indian footballer was asked to be associated with the draw ceremony for the Asian championship. "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.

Hosts UAE, who were positioned in first place in Group A, will kick-off Asia's most prestigious tournament against Bahrain at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 5, 2019.

The one positive for the so-called smaller nations with the expanded 24-team tournament though is that not only do the top two in each progress but also four of the best third-placed teams.

More news: High-rise building in Brazil collapses during fire

"When we play the game against Saudi for sure there is three points and both teams will need them and we are going to treat them like any other game and thinking only about football. This is more of a new team but I hope all the youngsters go and grab their chances", Chhetri told. They are competing with the best in Asia.

The tough draw came two days after the Azkals were placed in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup alongside defending champion Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and victor of the qualification round playoff between Timor Leste and Brunei.

"Right now, some of the people think Thailand is going to be easy but it's not. We know we will have to beat the best to get to the top and that's what we will do". Two kids are going to official ball carriers in the World Cup, one of the matches will be Brazil vs Costa Rica and the other Panama vs Belgium.

THE Philippine Azkals will have a tall mountain to scale in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after being grouped with South Korea, China and Kyrgyzstan in the draw on Friday evening in Dubai. I have never taken ranking seriously. But then, this time, we have UAE, Thailand and Bahrain - all good sides.

More news