Seeding for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

Asian Cup 2019 gives some major changes to the FIFA World Rankings for AFC countries. Countries like Japan, South Korea, and Qatar has increased their rank by more than 10 spots. While countries like Syria, Turkmenistan, and North Korea will see their rank dropped by more than 8 spots. More or less, results in Asian Cup 2019 will shape how each country will be seeded for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.

AFC hasn’t officialy announced the qualification system. But based on the schedule, we assumed that the system will be the same as 2018 qualification. The qualification will begin with 12 lowest-ranked countries play each other in two legs. The 6 winners will join 34 other countries in the second round. The 40 countries will be divided into 8 groups, each contains 5 countries. The group winners and 4 best-runners up will qualify for the WCQ third round, while other countries will advance to Asian Cup qualification. There will be some exceptions with Qatar (2022 WC host nation), Timor-Leste (expelled from 2023 Asian Cup), and the 2023 Asian Cup host nation.

First Round (12 countries)

The first round will be played on two legs in June 2019. Here are 10 countries that will participate. The seeding still can’t be determined because of small points margin between the countries.

  • Sri Lanka
  • Pakistan
  • Timor Leste
  • Brunei
  • Guam
  • Bangladesh
  • Mongolia
  • Bhutan
  • Laos
  • Macau

2 other spots will be filled by two of these countries. If they participate in the first round, they will be seeded in the draw.

  • Cambodia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Nepal
  • Indonesia

Second Round (40 countries)

The second round will be commenced in September 2019. 40 countries will be divided into 5 pots for the draw. They will be divided into 8 groups of 5. The seeding will be as below.

CountrySeeding
IranPot 1
JapanPot 1
South KoreaPot 1
AustraliaPot 1
QatarPot 1 or 2
UAEPot 1 or 2
Saudi ArabiaPot 1 or 2
China PRPot 1 or 2
IraqPot 1 or 2
SyriaPot 1, 2, or 3
LebanonPot 1, 2, or 3
UzbekistanPot 1, 2, or 3
OmanPot 1, 2, or 3
KyrgyzstanPot 2 or 3
JordanPot 2 or 3
VietnamPot 2 or 3
PalestinePot 2 or 3
IndiaPot 2 or 3
BahrainPot 2 or 3
ThailandPot 2 or 3
TajikistanPot 3 or 4
North KoreaPot 3 or 4
Chinese TaipeiPot 3 or 4
PhilippinesPot 3 or 4
TurkmenistanPot 3 or 4
MyanmarPot 3 or 4
Hong KongPot 3 or 4
YemenPot 3 or 4
AfghanistanPot 4 or 5
MaldivesPot 4 or 5
KuwaitPot 4 or 5
IndonesiaPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
NepalPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
SingaporePot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
MalaysiaPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
CambodiaPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
MacauPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
LaosPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
BhutanPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
MongoliaPot 4 or 5 (if advanced to second round)
BangladeshPot 5 (if advanced to second round)
GuamPot 5 (if advanced to second round)
BruneiPot 5 (if advanced to second round)
Timor LestePot 5 (if advanced to second round)
PakistanPot 5 (if advanced to second round)
Sri LankaPot 5 (if advanced to second round)
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