KUALA LUMPUR – (Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-15 11:00) The preliminary joint qualification round 2 draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup was held on Tuesday, with China pitted in Group C together with Qatar, Maldives, Bhutan and Hong Kong, China.
Alain Perrin, head coach of the Chinese national soccer team, said that Qatar is a very difficult opponent to play, adding that it is not a good draw for China to play against them.
However, Perrin said that as he used to work in Qatar, he knows the team and its players very well, which could help the Chinese team to make a good preparation for the matches.
Forty teams have been drawn into eight groups of five teams and will compete on a home-and-away format, and the Round 2 qualification matches will be held from June 11, 2015 to March 29, 2016.
The group winners and four best runners-up (12 teams in total) will advance to the 2019 Asian Cup final and the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup finals.