The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) section of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification sees 43 teams competing for 4 or 5 berths in the final tournament in Brazil. As in recent tournaments the AFC will have four direct qualifiers for the finals tournament in addition to a further possible place via the intercontinental play-offs against CONMEBOL's fifth-placed team, which was chosen through a random draw, rather than being decided by FIFA beforehand as in previous tournaments (e.g., 2010 against a team from OFC, 2006 against a team from CONCACAF).
The main qualifying draw took place in Brazil on 30 July 2011. Initially it was announced that the AFC Competitions Committee decided to use the 2010 qualification format for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The AFC published information in their calendar suggesting qualifiers would start on 8 October 2010 with the first leg of first round ties.
Therefore for the 2010 finals, FIFA advised the AFC that 2014 qualifiers could not begin until after mid-2011. On 13 August 2010 the AFC announced a format for the qualifiers that was identical to the 2010 format even though the final number of qualifiers had not been determined. A final format, with the initial stages modified slightly from 2010, was announced in March 2011.
Qualification began with two sets of two-leg knock-out qualification rounds – the first held on 29 June and 2 July and 3 July 2011 and the second on 23 and 28 July – reducing the number of teams in the main draw to 20. As in the 2010 format, the third stage consisted of 5 groups of 4 teams (with matches held between September 2011 and February 2012) with the top 2 in each group advancing to 2 groups of 5 that will play a further group stage during 2012. The top two teams in each group qualify for the 2014 finals directly, with the two third-placed teams playing-off for a chance to qualify via an intercontinental qualifying tie. A random draw determined that the final tie would be against the fifth-placed team from CONMEBOL qualification.
43 of the 46 AFC national teams entered qualification. A ranking list for the qualification rounds was released by AFC on 8 March 2011, with an updated list released due to the non-participation of Guam and Bhutan.
The rankings determined the round of qualification that teams began competition:
- Teams ranked 1–5 (the teams that competed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals and the intercontinental play-offs) do not compete in the qualification rounds, and automatically qualify for the first group stage (drawn in Brazil in July 2011).
- Teams ranked 6–27 (other teams that advanced past the first round in 2010 qualification, plus the three first round losers with the 'best' results) receive a bye to the second round of qualification.
- Teams ranked 28–43 enter at the first round.
- Brunei were suspended by FIFA from September 2009 through May 2011. Their reinstatement came too late for Brunei to participate in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
- Bhutan and Guam are not participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
First round 
The first round consisted of eight home-and-away series, featuring the 16 lowest ranked teams in Asia. The winners of these series proceeded to the second round.
Teams were seeded into two pots – Pot 1 included teams ranked 28–35 and Pot 2 teams ranked 36–43.
The first round draw of the Asian qualifiers took place on 30 March 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The first legs were played on 29 June 2011 and the second legs were played on 2 and 3 July 2011.
Second round 
The second round consisted of fifteen home-and-away series, featuring the 8 winners from the first round and other 22 teams ranked 6–27. The winners of these series then proceeded to the third round.
Teams were seeded into two pots – Pot 1 included teams ranked 6–20 and Pot 2 teams ranked 21–27 along with the 8 first round winners.
† First round winners whose identity was not known at the time of the draw
Ties were drawn at the same time as the first round. The first legs were played on 23 July 2011 and the second legs were played on 28 July 2011.
Note 1: The first leg of Oman
was originally won 2–0 by Oman, but was subsequently awarded to them as a 3–0 victory. The return leg was abandoned in the 45+2 minute due to crowd trouble.
Oman was leading 2–0. The result was declared final by FIFA, and Myanmar were banned from competing in the qualifying tournament for the 2018 World Cup.
Note 2: Both legs of the Syria
tie were awarded 3–0 to Tajikistan after Syria was ruled to have fielded an ineligible player.
Syria had won the first leg 2–1 and the return leg 4–0.
Third round 
The third round saw the 5 automatic qualifiers joined by the 15 winners from the second round. These teams were drawn into five groups of four teams, at the World Cup Preliminary Draw at the Marina da Glória in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 30 July 2011. The matches were played from 2 September 2011 to 29 February 2012. The top two teams from each group advanced to the fourth round.
The July 2011 FIFA Ranking – released on 27 July – was used to seed the teams. (Rankings shown in brackets)
Note. Syria were replaced by Tajikistan in the third round on 19 August 2011 following the awarding of both second round matches to Tajikistan.
Group A 
Group B 
Group C 
Group D 
Group E 
Fourth round 
The fourth round will seed the group winners and runners-up from the third round play in two groups of five. The top two teams from each group will advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while the two third-placed teams advance to the fifth round.
The draw for Round Four was held on 9 March 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the teams seeded according to their March 2012 FIFA Ranking. The FIFA rankings used were released on 7 March 2012 and included all matches from the third round of Asian Qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The ten teams (shown below with their March 2012 FIFA Ranking in brackets) are split into five pots, with each group containing a team from each pot.
The matches are scheduled to take place between 3 June 2012 and 18 June 2013.
As the competition partially overlaps with the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, which is scheduled to be held from 15 June 2013, the AFC decided that the match day will be adjusted only for Japan, the representative of AFC for the Confederations Cup, placing them on Position 5 in their group in order not to play on 18 June 2013.
Group A 
Group B 
Fifth round 
Teams finishing third in the fourth round groups will play each other to determine the AFC participant in the intercontinental play-off.
The draw for the fifth round of the AFC qualifiers was held in Zurich on 19 March 2013 during meetings of the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup.
|Third Group B
||Third Group A
Intercontinental play-off 
The fifth round winner will play CONMEBOL's fifth-placed team in a home-and-away play-off. The winner of this play-off qualifies for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
|5th Place AFC
||5th Place CONMEBOL
As of 26 March 2013, there have been 403 goals scored in 134 games, for an average of 3.01 goals per game. Players highlighted in bold are still active in the competition.
- 7 goals
- 6 goals
- 5 goals
- 4 goals
- 3 goals
- 2 goals
- 1 goal
- 1 own goal
External links