Defending Asian Games champions Qatar have been handed a relatively easy group in the men’s football event of the quadrennial event to be held in Guangzhou, China, next month. The Asian Games will officially open on November 12 but the football event will kick off on November 7 and conclude on November 25.
Qatar, who defeated Iraq 1-0 in the final of the last edition of the Asian Games held in their own backyard, were placed in Group D alongside Kuwait, India and Singapore in the draw held on Thursday.
Hosts China were slotted in Group A alongwith Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and Japan, while Thailand, Maldives, Oman and Pakistan are in Group F. Group B includes Iran, Vietnam, Bahrain and Turkmenistan while Group C comprise of Korea Republic, Palestine, Jordan and DPR Korea. Uzbekistan, UAE, Hong Kong and Bangladesh form Group E. The top two teams from each group and the four best third-placed teams will qualify for the Round of 16.
Seven teams will compete for the laurels in the women’s event with defending champions DPR Korea facing last edition’s runners-up Japan and Thailand in Group B while China, Korea Republic, Vietnam and Jordan form Group A. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals. The women’s event will be played from November 14 to 23.
The football events will be played in seven venues - Ying Dong Stadium, Huadu Stadium, Huangpu Stadium, Yuexiu Stadium, Guangdong People’s Stadium, Huagdong Stadium and Tianhe Stadium.
THE GROUPINGSMENGroup A: China, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, JapanGroup B: Iran, Vietnam, Bahrain, TurkmenistanGroup C: Korea Republic, Palestine, Jordan, DPR KoreaGroup D: Qatar, Kuwait, India, SingaporeGroup E: Uzbekistan, UAE, Hong Kong, BangladeshGroup F: Thailand, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan
WOMENGroup A: China, Korea Republic, Vietnam, Jordan Group B: DPR Korea, Japan, Thailand