AFC/FIFA Asian Teams Set For Next Step On Road to FIFA World Cup 26™

Eighteen remaining Asian Football Confederation (AFC) teams go into the preliminary qualifying draw on 27 June in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Group stage will confirm six automatic qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 26 AFC has up to nine places available for 48-team tournament in Canada, Mexico and United States.

The official FIFA World Cup 26 Preliminary Draw - AFC Asian Qualifiers - Road To 26 will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, 27 June as the 18 remaining Asian Football Confederation (AFC) teams take their next step on the road to the most inclusive FIFA World Cup™ ever – the first edition to feature 48 teams.

The draw will be presented by sports reporter Colette Wong and conducted by FIFA World Cup 26 Chief Tournament Officer – USA, Manolo Zubiria. Two FIFA Legends will assist with the draw: ex-Japan international Shinji Okazaki and former IR Iran international Mehdi Mahdavikia. The draw will divide the 18 countries still in contention into three groups of six teams with matches to be played in a group-stage format across September, October and November 2024 and March and June 2025.

The draw procedures are available here. The top two teams from each of the three groups (six teams in total) will advance directly to the FIFA World Cup 26™, which will feature an unprecedented total of 48 teams across three host nations, Canada, Mexico and the United States. The third- and fourth-placed teams in each group (six teams in total) will progress to the fourth qualifying round. They will be split across two groups of three teams with matches to be played in October and November 2025 from which a further two countries will earn automatic qualifying places.

The runners-up in those two groups will then play off in a two-legged contest with the winner progressing to the FIFA Intercontinental Play-off Tournament, which will take place in March 2026 and offer the final chance for AFC teams to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 26.

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