Tag: Iran

Iran is one spot higher in FIFA Ranking.

Team Melli climbed one spot higher to number 20 in the world in the first FIFA Ranking published in 2024. Iran is also closing the gap on Japan which slipped one spot down to 18th, however, despite the loss in the quarter-finals to Iran, Japan is still the top-ranked Asian Team followed by Iran.

Korea Republic climbed one place up while Australia climbed to 23rd.

There is plenty of movement further down the standings following the matches contested in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations and the AFC Asian Cup. Amongst the African sides, Ivory Coast jumped 10 spots to be placed 39th, reaping the rewards of their continental triumph on home soil, secured following an eventful AFCON campaign.

The FIFA rankings serve as a testament to the current global football landscape, reflecting the performances and achievements of national teams worldwide. As the football calendar progresses, these rankings will likely witness shifts and changes based on upcoming tournaments and events. Football enthusiasts eagerly await the unfolding of the year’s sporting events that will inevitably impact these influential standings.

AFCON runners-up Nigeria sit at 28th after jumping 14 places making significant strides but are no match for Angola (93rd, up 24), a side they ousted in the last eight, who are the biggest climbers in the latest installment of the global ranking. Two-time Asian Cup winners Qatar (37th, up 21) chalk up the biggest tally (92.04 points) after capitalizing on home comforts to successfully defend their continental crown.

Elsewhere, Jordan (70th, up 17), who was edged out in the Asian Cup final, make good ground, as do Thailand (101st, up 12), whose journey came to an end at the last-16 stage.

Super Jordan stun Korea Republic to reach historic final

Al Rayyan

Goals from Yazan Al Naimat and Mousa Al Tamari secured Jordan a sensational 2-0 win over Korea Republic as the West Asian side advanced to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ final at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday.

A dominant performance from start to finish saw Jordan upstage a Korea Republic side who simply couldn’t match the pace and determination of their opponents, who booked a spot in the AFC Asian Cup final for the first time in history.

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Jordan didn’t waste time in taking the game to Korea Republic, with their fast start almost catching the East Asian side by surprise, Al Naimat’s low strike in the fourth minute from just inside the area forcing goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo into a diving save.

The West Asian side looked dangerous every time they transitioned into attack with Al Tamari waltzing his way past three defenders before setting up Noor Al Rawabdeh, who brought the best out of Jo.

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Korea Republic slowly grew into the match, with Son Heung-min’s effort in the 19th minute ruled out for offside while Lee Kang-in failed to find the target from inside the box in the 24th minute.

Jordan, however, looked menacing each time they ventured forward but wasted a flurry of chances, with Al Naimat missing from inside the area before pulling his effort just wide in the 27th minute, while Al Tamari blazed his shot over the bar from just above the box.

At the other end, Korea Republic had a penalty overruled following a VAR review in the 30th minute before Lee Jae-Sung hit the upright from Hwang In-beom’s cross.

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A mazy Al Naimat run in the 43rd minute saw him waltzing past three defenders into the six-yard-box before unleashing a powerful drive straight into Jo, with the rebound falling nicely for Al Rawabdeh but his effort struck the Korea Republic custodian before going out of play. 

Despite having mostly played second fiddle, Korea Republic should have taken the lead into the break but Seol Young-woo’s cross from the flank was sent skywards by Hwang. 

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Jordan’s pace at the start of the second half was not as intense but they continued to dictate terms, with Korea Republic struggling to keep the ball.

The West Asian side’s positive play finally delivered dividends in the 53rd minute when Al Tamari pounced on a poor back pass from Jung Seung-Hyunto to send a well-timed pass to Al Naimat, who lobbed the ball over the advancing Jo for the opening goal.

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Having fallen behind for the fifth time in six matches, Korea Republic sent on Cho Gue-sung to add more depth to their attacks but the No 9 failed to find the target at the hour mark when he sent his headed attempt off Kang-in’s corner over the bar.

That was to prove costly as Jordan struck again six minutes later, Al Tamari brilliantly cutting inside from just above the area before unleashing a low drive past a despairing Cho.

Korea Republic’s attempts to find a way back were easily repelled from there on as Jordan held on for a well deserved place in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 final. 

Japan’s Ito out of the squad following sexual assault allegations.

【Doha 2nd Feb】In response to reports of allegations of sexual assault, midfielder Junya ITO (30 years old Stade de Reims player, who announced his withdrawal from the Japan national team for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar on the previous day, canceled the decision and officially decided to withdraw on this day 3rd February. Coach Hajime MORIYASU (55) of the Japan National Team announced the decision.

He took the stage at the press conference before the quarterfinal match against Iran. From the first question, I was asked about Ito by the foreign media.

“I wanted to stand with Junya ITO until the end of this tournament and fight together to win the championship, but after discussions, the JFA (Japan Association) decided that it is best to withdraw him from the tournament as a result of his desire, and they agreed, and it was decided that he would leave tomorrow’s match without playing with us.”

“In terms of the impact on the team, he is a player who has contributed to the team’s fight to win so far, so it hurts and I feel sorry for him, but I want to think about his physical and mental health. We have some great players left, so I’m not worried at all about the fact that they will be able to play as hard as they can in tomorrow’s match against Iran.”

“I’ve been talking to him about his health, but I don’t think he’s in a state of mind where he’s going to play football at high intensity. We will do our best to support you. We’ll see how he can perform at the top as soon as possible.”

The newspaper Lunion, a local newspaper in Reims, France published comments from Stade Reims coach Still and Ito’s teammate goalkeeper Yevan Diouf.

The newspaper explained how Ito left the Japan national team and said, “Reims coach Still showed a cautious attitude when questioned at a press conference on Friday (2nd), two days after the match against Toulouse on Sunday (4 p.m.). “As long as I don’t have contact with him (Ito), I don’t have much to say,” the coach was quoted as saying.

According to the newspaper, Still said: “We will follow the statement issued by the club, we are waiting to see what is going on, but we do not know enough to give an opinion. I haven’t seen Junya for a month and I don’t know what happened at all,” he said at a press conference.

The newspaper also referred to goalkeeper Diouf’s remarks. Diouf told a press conference: “We hope he (Ito) is innocent because this is serious. The presumption of innocence must be considered. Unless there is a verdict, it cannot be said whether he is innocent or guilty. When he returns, he will be greeted as usual. The situation is delicate for everyone, but it’s best for the courts to do their job. I have nothing else to comment on.”

Japan’s Achilles Heel

Doha (AFP) – Japan’s Asian Cup risks being fatally undermined by coach Hajime Moriyasu’s reliance on an error-prone rookie goalkeeper and he has left himself with no convincing alternatives.

Japan goalkeeper Zion Suzuki has struggled at the Asian Cup in Qatar
The pre-tournament favourites face Iran on Saturday in the quarter-finals but serious questions hang over 21-year-old Zion Suzuki, whose confidence looks shot.

Japan have yet to keep a clean sheet in Qatar and the goalkeeper’s mistakes have cost them at least one goal in every game so far.

Suzuki, whose father is Ghanaian-American and mother Japanese, has been racially abused online.

But even if Moriyasu wanted to take Suzuki out of the firing line, he has left himself with two backups who have only one international cap between them.

The coach is paying the price for failing to settle on a number one before the tournament and now faces a decision whether to stick or twist against Iran.

Suzuki, in his eighth appearance for Japan, was involved in a mix-up with a team-mate that led to an own goal in the 3-1 win over Bahrain in the last 16 on Wednesday.

Writing in Nikkan Sports, columnist Sergio Echigo said Suzuki had become “a concern”.

“He’s not so good at dealing with balls played in from the wings,” he wrote.

“If you look at these four games, his positioning, judgement, timing and hand-eye co-ordination have all been off.”

Suzuki plays for Belgian side Sint-Truiden and went into the Asian Cup with only four international appearances under his belt.

Of the two other goalkeepers in Moriyasu’s squad, Daiya Maekawa has one cap and Taishi Brandon Nozawa has yet to make his Japan debut.

The coach has used five different goalkeepers since Japan’s last-16 exit at the 2022 World Cup just over a year ago.

Of those, Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Keisuke Osako is currently injured but Europe-based pair Daniel Schmidt and Kosuke Nakamura were left out of the Asian Cup squad.

Shuichi Gonda has not featured at all since playing for Japan at the World Cup, with Moriyasu ruling him out on the grounds that he plays in the J-League second division.
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Speaking after Japan qualified for the Asian Cup last 16, Moriyasu said he had made his choice based on the “past, present and future”.

“Zion has been playing regularly in Europe and I think he was the only one — he was in the best condition,” said Moriyasu.

“There are others in Europe but they weren’t getting regular games. If you look at the J-League goalkeepers, they were all in their off-season.”

Japan have never had a clearly established number one goalkeeper since Moriyasu took over in 2018.

Eiji Kawashima played at three World Cups and hung on to compete with Gonda and Schmidt for the starting job in the 2022 edition.

Now Moriyasu finds himself with an inexperienced group to choose from as Japan chase a record-extending fifth Asian Cup.

He made Suzuki his number one only two games before the tournament kicked off.

“If I asked everyone to choose who is the number one, two and three, I think everyone would have a different answer,” said Moriyasu.

Suzuki has faced up to his critics, accepting that he is “held to a higher standard” as Japan’s number one.

The columnist Echigo said that Suzuki should “practise penalties because that’s how Japan went out of the World Cup.

“With penalties the ball comes straight at you, so maybe that’s where Suzuki’s strengths lie.”

ایران و جابان شنبه ساعت 15 براب هم کار کرین کریت.

Thrilling encounters in AFC Asian Cup Round 16

There were some major surprise results in the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. Iraq defeated the favorites Japan, while Jordan was on the brink of victory against the mighty Koreans, but finally settled for a 2-2 draw.

Only Iran, Qatar, and Iraq managed to win all the group matches. Japan and Korea Rep were placed as runners-up in their respective groups. As expected Australia and Uzbekistan qualified from their groups while China was stunned and eliminated from Group A.

There were quite a few surprises too in this edition. Tajikistan and Palestine were both qualified for the first time in their history. Indonesia pipped Vietnam to the round 16 qualifiers in another major surprise.

Bahrain topped its group which had Korea Rep, Jordan, and Malaysia. Despite the defeat in the opening match against the Koreans, Bahrain recovered well by winning its remaining matches. Jordan placed third in the group and qualified as one of the best third-rank teams.

Team Melli, had a solitary hiccup against Hong Kong, nevertheless, it won all three matches without much effort. It will be meeting Syria in the Round of 16. Waiting for Team Melli after it defeats Syria is either Japan or Bahrain in what could be an early final.

There were a lot of lessons to be learned from the last time Iran and Japan met in the last edition of the AFC Asian Cup in Al Ain. In that semi-final, Japan destroyed Team Melli in style mainly due to the Iranian player’s pressing the self-destruct and lack of discipline.

It would be a good move for Ghalenoei to show his players the full match from 2019 and pinpoint where the Team Melli players possibly went wrong. Saying that, Bahrain could very well spring another surprise by beating Japan in this round. Bahrain has always been a difficult and stubborn opponent for the Persians,


Sunday, January 28

Australia vs Indonesia (Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha 11.30am)
Tajikistan vs United Arab Emirates (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)

Monday, January 29

Iraq vs Jordan (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan)
Qatar vs Palestine (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor)

Tuesday, January 30

Uzbekistan vs Thailand (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah)
Saudi Arabia vs South Korea (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan)

Wednesday, January 31

Bahrain vs Japan (Al Thumama Stadium, Doha)
Iran vs Syria (Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha)

Roberto Mancini furious at some Saudi Players, expels six from the squad

The Italian Roberto Mancini, the head coach of the Saudi national football team, revealed the reasons for the expulsion of several players from the squad in Doha, indicating that whoever hesitates or refuses to stay has to leave without hesitation.
This came during the press conference held along with Saleh Al-Shehri, the Saudi striker, on Monday, before confronting the Oman team on Tuesday, in Doha in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. The Italian explained the events with each player and the reason for the expulsion, as the conference inaugurated, saying: “We have 3 players who do not want to participate, They are Salman Al-Faraj, Sultan Al-Ghannam, and Nawaf Al-Aqidi.” He explained: “Salman Al-Faraj does not want to play experimental matches. He said that when he first joined the squad. The other two wanted to start the games and would not be content to sit on the bench. Either start all matches or they are not going to stay with the team!!

The problems were not limited to the trio that Mancini mentioned in the press conference. He revealed the circumstances of other cases by saying: “Also, Mohammad Maran, Ali Hazazi, and Khaled Al-Ghannam all have expressed their unhappiness in the camp for various reasons, and were quite vocal about it. So, our response was quick: leave the camp now.”
On the future of the players who were excluded for non-technical reasons, he said: “There is no room to call them again. There are lots of players who want to represent the national team of their homeland and it is worth giving them the opportunity. What happened here is a strange matter. In my whole career as a player and a coach, I have never experienced such behavior before. This is alien to the sport of football”

About the chances of the Saudi national team, in the AFC Asian Cup, the former Italy and Manchester City coach said: “There are many strong teams here such as Japan, Australia, Iran, and South Korea, and we will do what we can in this tournament. We will deal with each stage as it comes. Right now. the focus is on our match with Oman. Certainly, it is a difficult match, which we will have to play with a greater focus in this meeting, especially as it is the opening match.”

Who will lift the AFC Asian Cup 2023?

Predicting the team that will lift the AFC Asian Cup is not something that has any value at this stage as football, time and again, has proven to be a strange game, full of surprises, and winning a title in the most prestigious tournament can have twists and turns that not even the best analyst can predict.

However, what can be said makes sense is the ranking and performance of the teams beforehand and the expected results based on the earlier performance.

Japan: Without a shadow of a doubt, Japan sits right at the top of the ranking and their chances of lifting the trophy for the fourth time are quite high. Not only did the Japanese perform well at the Asian level, they even managed to beat the best of Europe in their own home. A 4-1 result against Germany will stand as a monument of the might of the Japanese and the resilience, power, and strength of depth of this team. Japan also put 4 past Turkey and Canada also beat Tunisia 2-0. Before that Japan toyed with El Salvador beating them 6-0 and five days later Japan gave Peru a lesson in football with a 4-1 win just before humiliating Germany 4-1.

It does not take much expertise to predict that Japan is the team to beat. that is easier said than done.


Coach: Hajime Moriyasu (from 2018-)

Injured or Suspect Players: Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal) – Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton)


Odds: 1 : 3.2


South Korea has a star-studded squad, and by the virtue of having perhaps the best Asian footballer in Son Heung-Min, the chances of this team are only second to Japan. Despite their results not matching the greatness of Japan, they are still a powerful team with a great military-like discipline that has a lot to say in Qatar. They have demonstrated their strength against Iran and can surprise any of the teams. The recent appointment of the German Jurgen Klinsmann and and former hero Ch Du-ri as an assistant and perhaps an interpreter as Cha is fluent in German, shows that the Korean FA are determined to seriously challenge for the title that eluded them since 1956. A strong team with many stars playing in Europe the Koreans are confident that this might be their year.


Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann (from 2023)

Injured or Suspect Players: NONE


3/10/23FRIKorea Republic4 – 0Tunisia
17/10/23FRIKorea Republic6 – 0Vietnam
16/11/23AWCKorea Republic5 – 0Singapore
21/11/23AWCChina PR0 – 3Korea Republic
06/01/24FRIIraq0 – 1Korea Republic

Odds: 1 : 5.5


Iran, under Amir Ghalenoei, has proven to be one of the strongest in Asia and a difficult team to beat. Despite a few problems and shortfalls the team has enough talent to seriously challenge the likes of Japan and South Korea. In Azmoun and Taremi, Iran has a prolific duo up front not matched by any other Asian team. A near-half-century wait to lift the Asian Cup will give the Persians the greatest motive in making this tournament one to remember for the Iranian Fans.


Coach: Amir Ghalenoei (from 2022)

Injured or Suspect Players: Ramin Rezaeian (under treatment)


17/10/23FRIQatar0 – 4IR Iran
16/11/23AWCIR Iran4 – 0Hong Kong, China
21/11/23AWCUzbekistan2 – 2IR Iran
05/01/24FRIIR Iran2 – 1Burkina Faso
09/01/24FRIIndonesia0 – 5IR Iran

Odds: 1:8


Australia, a powerhouse in Asian football a team that has already lifted the title once at home in 2015. The Socceroos is still a force to be reckoned with in this year’s edition. The Socceroos are a mix of experienced and young players with 19 of the 26 currently plying trade in European leagues while only four are playing in the domestic A-League. The remaining three play in Japan and Saudi Arabia.


Coach: Graham Arnold (from 2018)

Injured or Suspect Players: None


13/10/23FRIEngland1 – 0Australia
17/10/23FRIAustralia2 – 0New Zealand
16/11/23AWCAustralia7 – 0Bangladesh
21/11/23AWCPalestine0 – 1Australia
06/01/24FRIBahrain0 – 2Australia

Odds: 1:6.5


Saudi Arabia: Conquerors of Argentina in the group stage at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Saudi Arabia are is on nearly equal terms in challenging for the trophy with Iran and Australia.

The Saudi Pro League underwent a huge transformation in 2023 with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, and Neymar headlining an importation of talent that lifted the competition to a new level. That uplift will, in turn, have had a trickle-down effect on the Saudi players already plying their trade in the league. The recruitment of the most expensive coach in the tournament shows how the Saudi Government is determined to win this Asian Cup. Surprisingly, the last two friendly matches against Hong Kong and Palestine, both Team Mellio opponents at the group stages, were less than convincing.


Coach: Roberto Mancini (from 2023)

Injured or Suspect Players: None


16/11/23AWCSaudi Arabia4 – 0Pakistan
21/11/23AWCJordan0 – 2Saudi Arabia
04/01/24FRISaudi Arabia1 – 0Lebanon
09/01/24FRISaudi Arabia0 – 0Palestine
10/01/24FRISaudi Arabia2 – 0Hong Kong

Odds: 1:8


Uzbekistan intends to gate-crash the party. The Central Asian teams have seen a big stride in football from youth to senior level. In this third stint at the helm of an Asian nation, Katanec will be — at the very least — looking to achieve with Uzbekistan what he managed with Iraq at the 2019 Asian Cup, when he led his former side to the round of 16 before they were beaten by eventual champions Qatar. The team has many young players augmenting the experiences of the likes of Eldor Shomurodov a player who has been the best in Uzbekistan football in the last few years.

Qatar: The Defending Champions and Host is considered an outsider. The Team has suffered under the Carlos Queiroz regime. The Qatari selectors failed in their due diligence in picking Queiroz who is a devotee of defensive football while the Qatari Team has always thrived in their attacking mentality. That marriage did not last long and now Qatar under a new head coach Tintin Márquez has a mountain to climb. An experienced Spaniard drafted in from Qatar Stars League side Al Wakrah, Márquez was appointed less than a month out from the Asian Cup after the Qatar FA sacked former Real Madrid boss Carlos Queiroz.

World Cup qualifiers starts for Team Melli.

Preview – Group E: Turkmenistan v Uzbekistan; IR Iran v Hong Kong, China

Tehran: Iran are the clear favourites to advance from Group E of the Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™.
Iran, seeking to qualify for a fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup, face Hong Kong, China on Thursday with Turkmenistan hosting Uzbekistan.
Iran’s array of stars means Hong Kong will face a stern test of their credentials at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

Having suffered heartbreak at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Iran will be determined to qualify for the 2026 edition after having failed to advance from the group stage in all their previous six appearances at the global showpiece.

Hong Kong, however, will not be lacking in confidence after having sealed a return to the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since 1968 and having advanced to the semi-finals of the Asian Games for the first time in the recent Hangzhou edition.

Turkmenistan, the only team in the group not heading to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, will be fired up to erase that disappointment by enjoying a good run in the Preliminary Joint Qualification.

Uzbekistan will be familiar foes, with their Central Asian rivals on a mission to advance to the third round after missing out in 2022.

Thursday’s fixtures
Turkmenistan v Uzbekistan
Venue: Ashgabat Stadium (Ashgabat)
Kick-off: 19:00 (UTC+4)

IR Iran v Hong Kong, China
Venue: Azadi Stadium (Tehran)
Kick-off: 18:00 (UTC+3:30)

FIFA Ranking – June 2023, Iran 22nd and Japan top of Asia.

Iran gained two places in the FIFA Ranking to climb to 22nd place in the World ahead of Ukraine and Sweden.

Japan’s National football team remained firmly at the top of the FIFA Asian ranking increasing the gap from Iran, which is in second place in the latest ranking published by FIFA today.

three wins for Iran in the CAFA Nations Cup 2023 which was hosted by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan helped the Team Melly tally, however, Japan has done slightly better with 7.37 points increase to Iran’s 3.36. Australia and South Korea swapped places with the latter going down one place to fourth.

raw on FIFA Day in March, Iran closed the gap very slightly with Japan which solidly occupies the top place despite losing 4.5 points. South Korea, Australia, and Saudi Arabia follow next.

Total Points
Previous Points

1588.59 7.37
IR Iran
1553.23 3.36
1532.79 -2.34
Korea Republic
Korea Rep.
1536.01 -6.71
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
1421.46 0
1388.61 4.91
1347.84 -2.63
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
1336.28 0
1333.54 -1.09
1318.36 9.22

AFC qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 2026

The seeding for FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers in Asia have been determined.

After winning the title of CAFA Nations Cup 2023, Team Melli would be busy preparing for the AFC Asian Cup and the next round of World Cup qualifiers. Iran will not be involved in Round 1 of the qualifiers but will start its games in Round 2.

The qualifiers starting in 2023 will be a marathon of matches in a similar pattern to the previous edition of the World Cup in Qatar.

The FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers will start in the Asian continent on Thursday, October 12. In the first round, 22 AFC teams from the lowest FIFA ranking will take part, with 11 of them will advance to the group round.

The second round of the qualifiers will see Iran’s presence. Team Melli is currently ranked second in Asia after Japan. The AFC second round of 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification, which also serves as the second round of 2027 AFC Asian Cup qualification, is expected to be played from 16 November 2023 to 11 June 2024

A total of thirty-six teams will be drawn into nine groups of four to play home-and-away round-robin matches. They include the twenty-five teams (teams ranked 1–25 in the AFC entrant list) which received byes to this round and the eleven winners from the first round.

Eighteen group winners and runners-up advance to the third round and qualify for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. The third and fourth-place teams will advance to the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup qualification.


The 11 teams that advanced from Round 1, along with the top 25 teams in Asia, form a total of 36 teams that must be placed in 9 four-team groups. The classification of this round of competitions is as follows:

Seed 1: Japan – Iran – Australia – South Korea – Saudi Arabia – Qatar – Emirates – Iraq – Oman

Seed 2: Uzbekistan – China – Jordan – Bahrain – Syria – Vietnam – Palestine – Kyrgyzstan – India

Seed 3: Lebanon – Tajikistan – Thailand – North Korea – Philippines – Malaysia – Turkmenistan – Kuwait – Hong Kong

The top two teams from each group will advance to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers in the Asian continent and the third and fourth teams of the group are also eliminated.


The schedule is expected to be as follows, according to the FIFA International Match Calendar.

Matchday 116 November 2023
Matchday 221 November 2023
Matchday 321 March 2024
Matchday 426 March 2024
Matchday 56 June 2024
Matchday 611 June 2024