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Iran Drawn in Easy Group

Iran Drawn in Easy GroupIran Drawn in Easy Group

Iran has been drawn against Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and Guam in the first stage of AFC qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

In Tuesday’s draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Iran was placed in group D with the other four teams. Oman, ranked 97 in the world, shapes as the toughest opponent in what should be a very manageable group for Carlos Queiroz’s side, Varzesh3 reported.

Being in the top seeding, it was not possible for Iran to fall in the same group with any of the other regional powers such as Japan, South Korea or Australia.

Looking at the other group D teams’ FIFA world ranking, India 147th, Turkmenistan 159th, and Guam 175th, it seems Team Melli, ranked 40, would not have difficulty facing them. However, the group is not ideal in terms of the long-distance travel the squad will have to embark on across the vast Asian continent.

Altogether there were 40 teams in eight groups of five. The group winners and four best runners-up (a total of 12 teams) will advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, and the 2019 Asian Cup finals. The remaining top 24 teams will play in other competitions to determine other 12 qualifying teams for the Asian Cup games.

For the first time, the AFC has merged the initial stages of Asian Cup and World Cup qualifying.

The next round of qualification matches will be held from June 11, 2015 to March 29, 2016. The first game for Iran will take place on the first day of the matches, June 11.

Asia’s other heavyweights were also handed favorable draws, with Japan set to face Syria, Afghanistan, Singapore and Cambodia in group E; South Korea coming up against Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar and Laos in group G; and Australia to play with Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh in group B.

Iran has previously qualified four times for the World Cup. Now a formidable team with Portuguese coach Queiroz, they are expected to have a place among the final 32 teams at the 2018 edition.