2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)

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2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
Tournament details
Dates 12 March 2015 – 10 October 2017
Teams 46 (from 1 confederation)
Tournament statistics
Matches played 226
Goals scored 665 (2.94 per match)
Attendance 4,377,585 (19,370 per match)
Top scorer(s) Saudi Arabia Mohammad Al-Sahlawi
United Arab Emirates Ahmed Khalil
(16 goals each)
2014
2022

The Asian section of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification acted as qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in Russia, for national teams which are members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). A total of 4.5 slots (4 direct slots and 1 inter-confederation play-off slot) in the final tournament were available for AFC teams.[1]

On 16 April 2014, the AFC Executive Committee approved a proposal to merge the preliminary qualification rounds of the FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup, which will be expanded to 24 teams starting in 2019.[2] Therefore, the first two rounds of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers also acted as qualifiers for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Format[edit]

The qualification structure was as follows:[2][3]

  • First round: A total of 12 teams (teams ranked 35–46) played home-and-away over two legs. The six winners advanced to the second round.
  • Second round: A total of 40 teams (teams ranked 1–34 and six first round winners) were divided into eight groups of five teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The eight group winners and the four best group runners-up advanced to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification as well as qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals.
  • Third round: The 12 teams (an increase from 10 for 2014) which had advanced from the second round were divided into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two teams of each group qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the two third-placed teams advanced to the fourth round.
  • Fourth round: The two third-placed teams of each group from the third round played home-and-away over two legs. The winners advanced to the inter-confederation play-offs.

A total of 24 teams eliminated from World Cup qualification in the second round competed in the third round of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification (which is separate from the third round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification), where they were divided into six groups of four teams and competed for the remaining slots of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The 24 teams consisted of the 16 highest ranked teams eliminated in the second round, and the eight teams that advanced from the play-off round of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification which were contested by the remaining 12 teams eliminated in the second round.[4]

Entrants[edit]

The 46 FIFA-affiliated nations from the AFC entered qualification.[5] In order to determine which nations would compete in the first round and which nations would receive a bye through to the second round, the FIFA World Rankings of January 2015 were used (shown in parentheses), as those were the latest published rankings prior to the first round draw. The FIFA Rankings of January 2015 were also used for seeding of the first round draw; however, for seeding in the second round and third round draws, the most recent FIFA Rankings prior to those draws were used.

From the January 2015 FIFA World Rankings[6]
Bye to the second round
(Ranked 1st to 34th)
Competing in first round
(Ranked 35th to 46th)
  1.  Iran (51)
  2.  Japan (54)
  3.  South Korea (69)
  4.  Uzbekistan (71)
  5.  United Arab Emirates (80)
  6.  Qatar (92)
  7.  Oman (93)
  8.  Jordan (93)
  9.  China PR (96)
  10.  Australia (100)
  11.  Saudi Arabia (102)
  12.  Bahrain (110)
  13.  Iraq (114)
  14.  Palestine (115)
  15.  Lebanon (122)
  16.  Kuwait (125)
  17.  Philippines (129)
  18.  Maldives (131)
  19.  Vietnam (133)
  20.  Tajikistan (136)
  21.  Myanmar (141)
  22.  Afghanistan (142)
  23.  Thailand (144)
  24.  Turkmenistan (147)
  25.  North Korea (150)
  26.  Syria (151)
  27.  Kyrgyzstan (152)
  28.  Malaysia (154)
  29.  Hong Kong (156)
  30.  Singapore (157)
  31.  Indonesia (159)
  32.  Laos (160)
  33.  Guam (161)
  34.  Bangladesh (165)
  1.  India (171)
  2.  Sri Lanka (172)
  3.  Yemen (176)
  4.  Cambodia (179)
  5.  Chinese Taipei (182)
  6.  Timor-Leste (185)
  7.    Nepal (186)
  8.  Macau (186)
  9.  Pakistan (188)
  10.  Mongolia (194)
  11.  Brunei (198)
  12.  Bhutan (209)

Schedule[edit]

The schedule of the competition was as follows.[7][8][9]

Round Matchday Date
First round First leg 12 March 2015
Second leg 17 March 2015
Second round Matchday 1 11 June 2015
Matchday 2 16 June 2015
Matchday 3 3 September 2015
Matchday 4 8 September 2015
Matchday 5 8 October 2015
Matchday 6 13 October 2015
Matchday 7 12 November 2015
Matchday 8 17 November 2015
Matchday 9 24 March 2016
Matchday 10 29 March 2016
Round Matchday Date
Third round Matchday 1 1 September 2016
Matchday 2 6 September 2016
Matchday 3 6 October 2016
Matchday 4 11 October 2016
Matchday 5 15 November 2016
Matchday 6 23 March 2017
Matchday 7 28 March 2017
Matchday 8 13 June 2017
Matchday 9 31 August 2017
Matchday 10 5 September 2017
Fourth round First leg 5 October 2017
Second leg 10 October 2017

The inter-confederation play-offs were scheduled to be played between 6–14 November 2017.[10]

First round[edit]

The draw for the first round was held on 10 February 2015, 15:30 MST (UTC+8), at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[11]

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
India  2–0    Nepal 2–0 0–0
Yemen  3–1  Pakistan 3–1 0–0
Timor-Leste  0–6[N 1]  Mongolia 0–3[N 1] 0–3[N 1]
Cambodia  4–1  Macau 3–0 1–1
Chinese Taipei  2–1  Brunei 0–1 2–0
Sri Lanka  1–3  Bhutan 0–1 1–2
Notes
  1. ^ a b c Timor-Leste won the first leg 4–1 and the second leg 1–0, thus winning 5–1 on aggregate and advancing to the Second Round. On 12 December 2017 FIFA awarded both matches 3–0 to Mongolia due to Timor-Leste fielding numerous ineligible players. However, this was long after the Second Round had been played so Timor-Leste advanced and Mongolia were not reinstated.

Second round[edit]

The draw for the second round was held on 14 April 2015, at 17:00 MST (UTC+8), at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[12][13]

Summary[edit]

  Qualified for the Third Round and Asian Cup as winners or top four runners-up
  Advanced to the Third Asian Cup qualifying round as bottom four runners-up, third place, or top four fourth placed team
  Advanced to the AFC Asian Cup qualifying play-off round.
  Denotes a team that was disqualified as a result of a previous FIFA suspension.
Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H

Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates

Australia

Qatar

China PR

Iran

Japan

Syria

Thailand

Iraq

South Korea

Uzbekistan

Palestine

Jordan

Kyrgyzstan

Hong Kong

Oman

Turkmenistan

Guam

Singapore

Afghanistan

Vietnam

Lebanon

Kuwait

Myanmar

North Korea

Philippines

Bahrain

Malaysia

Timor-Leste

Tajikistan

Bangladesh

Maldives

Bhutan

India

Cambodia

Chinese Taipei

Laos

Yemen

Indonesia

Groups[edit]

Group A[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Saudi Arabia 8 6 2 0 28 4 +24 20 Third round and Asian Cup 2–1 3–2 2–0 7–0[a]
2  United Arab Emirates 8 5 2 1 27 4 +23 17 1–1 2–0 10–0 8–0
3  Palestine 8 4 2 2 24 5 +19 14 Asian Cup qualifying third round 0–0 0–0 6–0 7–0
4  Malaysia 8 2 0 6 7 29 −22 6 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–3[b] 1–2 0–6 3–0[a]
5  Timor-Leste[a] 8 0 0 8 0 44 −44 0 0–10 0–3[a] 0–3[a] 0–3[a]
Source: FIFA
Notes:
  1. ^ a b c d e f Timor-Leste forfeited five group matches due to fielding numerous ineligible players.[15]
  2. ^ The Malaysia v Saudi Arabia match, on 8 September 2015, was abandoned during the 87th minute after a group of supporters threw objects onto the pitch. At the time of the abandonment the score was 2–1 to Saudi Arabia. On 5 October 2015, FIFA decided that this match was forfeited by Malaysia and the result to be declared as a 3–0 win awarded for Saudi Arabia.[16][17]

Group B[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Australia 8 7 0 1 29 4 +25 21 Third round and Asian Cup 5–1 3–0 7–0 5–0
2  Jordan 8 5 1 2 21 7 +14 16 Asian Cup qualifying third round 2–0 0–0 3–0 8–0
3  Kyrgyzstan 8 4 2 2 10 8 +2 14 1–2 1–0 2–2 2–0
4  Tajikistan 8 1 2 5 9 20 −11 5 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–3 1–3 0–1 5–0
5  Bangladesh 8 0 1 7 2 32 −30 1 0–4 0–4 1–3 1–1
Source: FIFA

Group C[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Qatar 8 7 0 1 29 4 +25 21 Third round and Asian Cup 1–0 2–0 4–0 15–0
2  China PR 8 5 2 1 27 1 +26 17 2–0 0–0 4–0 12–0
3  Hong Kong 8 4 2 2 13 5 +8 14 Asian Cup qualifying third round 2–3 0–0 2–0 7–0
4  Maldives 8 2 0 6 8 20 −12 6 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–1 0–3 0–1 4–2
5  Bhutan 8 0 0 8 5 52 −47 0 0–3 0–6 0–1 3–4
Source: FIFA

Group D[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Iran 8 6 2 0 26 3 +23 20 Third round and Asian Cup 2–0 3–1 6–0 4–0
2  Oman 8 4 2 2 11 7 +4 14 Asian Cup qualifying third round 1–1 3–1 1–0 3–0
3  Turkmenistan 8 4 1 3 10 11 −1 13 1–1 2–1 1–0 2–1
4  Guam 8 2 1 5 3 16 −13 7 0–6 0–0 1–0 2–1
5  India 8 1 0 7 5 18 −13 3 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–3[a] 1–2 1–2 1–0
Source: FIFA
Notes:
  1. ^ FIFA awarded Iran a 3–0 win as a result of India fielding the ineligible player Eugeneson Lyngdoh.[18] The match initially ended 3–0 to Iran.

Group E[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Japan 8 7 1 0 27 0 +27 22 Third round and Asian Cup 5–0 0–0 5–0 3–0
2  Syria 8 6 0 2 26 11 +15 18 0–3 1–0 5–2 6–0
3  Singapore 8 3 1 4 9 9 0 10 Asian Cup qualifying third round 0–3 1–2 1–0 2–1
4  Afghanistan 8 3 0 5 8 24 −16 9 0–6 0–6 2–1 3–0
5  Cambodia 8 0 0 8 1 27 −26 0 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–2 0–6 0–4 0–1
Source: FIFA

Group F[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Thailand 6 4 2 0 14 6 +8 14 Third round and Asian Cup 2–2 1–0 4–2
2  Iraq 6 3 3 0 13 6 +7 12 2–2 1–0 5–1
3  Vietnam 6 2 1 3 7 8 −1 7 Asian Cup qualifying third round 0–3 1–1 4–1
4  Chinese Taipei 6 0 0 6 5 19 −14 0 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–2 0–2 1–2
5  Indonesia (D) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Disqualified due to FIFA suspension[a]
Source: FIFA
(D) Disqualified.
Notes:
  1. ^ On 30 May 2015, FIFA announced that the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) was suspended with immediate effect for governmental interference.[19] On 3 June 2015, the AFC confirmed that Indonesia have been excluded from the qualifying competition, and all matches involving them have been cancelled.[20]

Group G[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  South Korea 8 8 0 0 27 0 +27 24 Third round and Asian Cup 1–0 3–0[a] 4–0 8–0
2  Lebanon 8 3 2 3 12 6 +6 11 Asian Cup qualifying third round 0–3 0–1 1–1 7–0
3  Kuwait[a] 8 3 1 4 12 10 +2 10 0–1 0–0 9–0 0–3[a]
4  Myanmar 8 2 2 4 9 21 −12 8 0–2 0–2 3–0[a] 3–1
5  Laos 8 1 1 6 6 29 −23 4 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 0–5 0–2 0–2 2–2
Source: FIFA
Notes:
  1. ^ a b c d On 16 October 2015, the Kuwait FA was suspended by FIFA with immediate effect, after Kuwait had failed to comply with a decision from the FIFA Executive Committee that sports law of the country had to be changed before 15 October. The three remaining matches involving Kuwait (away v Myanmar, home v Laos, away v South Korea) were not played as originally scheduled, and were later awarded as 3–0 wins for Kuwait's opponents.

Group H[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Uzbekistan 8 7 0 1 20 7 +13 21 Third round and Asian Cup 3–1 1–0 1–0 1–0
2  North Korea 8 5 1 2 14 8 +6 16 Asian Cup qualifying third round 4–2 0–0 2–0 1–0
3  Philippines 8 3 1 4 8 12 −4 10 1–5 3–2 2–1 0–1
4  Bahrain 8 3 0 5 10 10 0 9 0–4 0–1 2–0 3–0
5  Yemen 8 1 0 7 2 17 −15 3 Asian Cup qualifying play-off round 1–3 0–3[a] 0–2 0–4
Source: FIFA
Notes:
  1. ^ FIFA awarded North Korea a 3–0 win as a result of Yemen fielding the ineligible player Mudir Al-Radaei, after North Korea had defeated Yemen 1–0. Al-Radaei failed to serve an automatic one match suspension for receiving two yellow cards earlier in the First Round of the competition.[21]

Ranking of runner-up teams[edit]

To determine the four best runner-up teams, the following criteria were used:

  1. Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Goal difference
  3. Goals scored
  4. Fair play points
  5. Drawing of lots

As a result of Indonesia being disqualified due to FIFA suspension, Group F contained only four teams compared to five teams in all other groups. Therefore, the results against the fifth-placed team were not counted when determining the ranking of the runner-up teams.[22]

Pos Grp Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 F  Iraq 6 3 3 0 13 6 +7 12 Third round and Asian Cup
2 E  Syria 6 4 0 2 14 11 +3 12
3 A  United Arab Emirates 6 3 2 1 16 4 +12 11
4 C  China PR 6 3 2 1 9 1 +8 11
5 H  North Korea 6 3 1 2 10 8 +2 10 Asian Cup qualifying third round
6 B  Jordan 6 3 1 2 9 7 +2 10
7 D  Oman 6 2 2 2 6 6 0 8
8 G  Lebanon 6 1 2 3 3 6 −3 5
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Counting only matches against teams ranked first to fourth in the group, 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored; 4) Fair play points; 5) Drawing of lots.

Third round[edit]

The third round consisted of two groups of six teams. The first two teams in each group qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The two third-placed teams proceeded to the fourth round.

The draw for the third round was held on 12 April 2016, at 16:30 MST (UTC+8), at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[23][24]

Groups[edit]

Group A[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Iran 10 6 4 0 10 2 +8 22 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 1–0 2–2 2–0 1–0 2–0
2  South Korea 10 4 3 3 11 10 +1 15 0–0 1–0 2–1 3–2 3–2
3  Syria 10 3 4 3 9 8 +1 13 Advance to fourth round 0–0 0–0 1–0 2–2 3–1
4  Uzbekistan 10 4 1 5 6 7 −1 13 0–1 0–0 1–0 2–0 1–0
5  China PR 10 3 3 4 8 10 −2 12 0–0 1–0 0–1 1–0 0–0
6  Qatar 10 2 1 7 8 15 −7 7 0–1 3–2 1–0 0–1 1–2
Source: FIFA

Group B[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Japan 10 6 2 2 17 7 +10 20 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 2–1 2–0 1–2 2–1 4–0
2  Saudi Arabia 10 6 1 3 17 10 +7 19 1–0 2–2 3–0 1–0 1–0
3  Australia 10 5 4 1 16 11 +5 19 Advance to fourth round 1–1 3–2 2–0 2–0 2–1
4  United Arab Emirates 10 4 1 5 10 13 −3 13 0–2 2–1 0–1 2–0 3–1
5  Iraq 10 3 2 5 11 12 −1 11 1–1 1–2 1–1 1–0 4–0
6  Thailand 10 0 2 8 6 24 −18 2 0–2 0–3 2–2 1–1 1–2
Source: FIFA

Fourth round[edit]

The two third-placed teams in each group from the third round played against each other home-and-away over two legs to determine which team advanced to the inter-confederation play-offs.

The order of legs was announced during the draw for the third round.[25] Syria played their home match, as with all their home matches in the third round, in Malaysia due to the war time condition in Syria.[26]

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Syria  2–3  Australia 1–1 1–2 (a.e.t.)

Inter-confederation play-offs[edit]

The draw for the inter-confederation play-offs was held as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw on 25 July 2015, starting 18:00 MSK (UTC+3), at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg.[27] The fifth-placed team from AFC was drawn against the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF, with the AFC team hosting the second leg.[28]

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Honduras  1–3  Australia 0–0 1–3

Qualified teams[edit]

The following five teams from AFC qualified for the final tournament.

Team Qualified as Qualified on Previous appearances in FIFA World Cup1
 Iran Third Round Group A winners 12 June 2017 4 (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014)
 Japan Third Round Group B winners 31 August 2017 5 (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)
 South Korea Third Round Group A runners-up 5 September 2017 9 (1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)
 Saudi Arabia Third Round Group B runners-up 5 September 2017 4 (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006)
 Australia CONCACAF v AFC play-off winners 15 November 2017 4 (1974, 2006, 2010, 2014)
1 Bold indicates champions for that year. Italic indicates hosts for that year.

Top goalscorers[edit]

16 goals
11 goals
10 goals
9 goals
8 goals
7 goals
6 goals

For full lists of goalscorers, see sections in each round:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup™ confederation slots maintained". FIFA.com. 30 May 2015. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "ExCo approves expanded AFC Asian Cup finals". AFC. 16 April 2014. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Draw Procedures – Asian Zone" (PDF). FIFA.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "World Cup draw looms large in Asia". FIFA.com. 13 April 2015. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Completing the tournament's qualifying contenders will be the next 16 highest ranked teams, with the remaining 12 sides battling it out in play-off matches to claim the last eight spots. 
  5. ^ "Road to Russia with new milestone". FIFA.com. 15 January 2015. Archived from the original on 22 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "FIFA Men's Ranking – January 2015 (AFC)". FIFA.com. 8 January 2015. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "AFC Calendar of Competitions 2015" (PDF). AFC. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "AFC Calendar of Competitions 2016" (PDF). AFC. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "AFC Calendar of Competitions 2017" (PDF). AFC. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "FIFA Calendar". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 25 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "India v Nepal headlines 2018 World Cup, 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers draw". AFC. 10 February 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Draw date set for Round 2 of 2018 World Cup, 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers". AFC. 26 March 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Draw: Russia 2018 / UAE 2019 Joint Qualification Round 2". AFC. 15 April 2015. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "Regulations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia" (PDF). FIFA.com. 
  15. ^ "Latest decisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee". FIFA.com. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  16. ^ Rashvinjeet S. Bedi; T. Avineshwaran (8 September 2015). "Malaysia-Saudi match abandoned after crowd trouble". The Star. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Malaysian FA sanctioned after abandonment of FIFA World Cup qualifier". FIFA.com. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  18. ^ "DISCIPLINARY OVERVIEW – 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA™ QUALIFIERS" (PDF). FIFA. 1 February 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup™ confederation slots maintained". FIFA.com. 30 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "Impact of Football Association of Indonesia suspension". AFC. 3 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "Yemen sanctioned for fielding ineligible player". FIFA. 6 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Criteria to Determine the Rankings of Best-placed Teams among the Groups" (PDF). AFC. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "2018 FIFA World Cup: Asian Qualifying Round 3 line up complete". Asian Football Confederation. 30 March 2016. Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. 
  24. ^ "Stage set for Russia 2018 Asian Qualifiers Final Round draw". Asian Football Confederation. 10 April 2016. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "Draw Mechanics for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Asian Qualifiers". YouTube. 10 April 2016. Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Asian Play-off: MD1 (1st leg), 5 Oct 2017, A3 vs B3; MD2 (2nd leg), 10 Oct 2017, B3 vs A3. (Displayed in video at 1:40) 
  26. ^ "Australia v Syria World Cup qualifier to be held in Malaysia, AFC confirms". ABC News. 14 September 2017. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. 
  27. ^ "Preliminary Draw procedures outlined". fifa.com. 9 July 2015. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  28. ^ "The Preliminary Draw results in full". FIFA.com. 25 July 2015. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. 

External links[edit]