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How do the Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers work

Here is a closer look at how the Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers work. They are officially scheduled to commence on Thursday, October 12th, 2023.

How do the Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers work

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 6 Oct 2023 5:40 AM GMT

The first round of the FIFA World Cup 26 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) qualification competition is scheduled to get underway on Thursday, October 12th, 2023, when Myanmar take on Macau in the first leg of the first round, but how do these qualifiers work?

Explained in greater detail on this page is how the Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers work. We have also included several upcoming fixtures you can look forward to and find out which qualifying teams will most likely advance to the next stage of the tournament based on the latest odds from several trusted online bookmakers.

How do the Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers work?

A total of twenty footballing nations will compete in the Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which act as a feeder to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The event is explicitly for national teams who are currently members of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). Out of these twenty teams, only eight teams will be able to make it to the final tournament, plus one inter-confederation play-off slot is also available.

Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers consist of five rounds; the first two also serve as qualifiers for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. In the first stage of the Asian qualifiers that will commence soon, the contest consists of 10 two-legged matches (one at home and one away), with the winners joining 26 other nations at round two, the next phase of the tournament, with nine groups, each with four teams. Confused? Don’t be. It’s actually rather simple.

At the next stage of the qualifiers, which runs between November 13th 2023 and June 2024, the teams that have made it this far get to play each other once at home and once away. Only the top two teams from each group get to advance to the next stage, or the third round, when all matches have been played. The bottom two teams are both out of the tournament.

The remaining nations (so 18 teams altogether) are then divided into three groups, each with six teams. Between September 2024 and June 2025, the teams in these groups also play each other twice in a home and away fixture. When this phase of the tournament ends, the two top teams are guaranteed a place in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

You then have the fourth round, which sees the ASIAN PLAY-OFFS begin. It includes the six nations who finished in third and fourth place in the third round group stage. These teams will be divided into two groups, each with three teams, and then only the winners of each group will make it to the 2026 FIFA World Cup FINALS.

The fifth round, which is scheduled to occur in November 2025, sees the two nations who finished in second place in the fourth round in a contest with two legs (home and away). The winner of these matches will then get to progress to the FIFA Play-Off Tournament.

Are there any Asian FIFA World Cup qualifier betting odds available?

There are currently no live betting odds available for any upcoming Asian FIFA World Cup qualifiers matches because live betting (aka in-play betting) services are only available when the matches occur. You can, however, find plenty of pre-match betting odds for many of the upcoming games.

Fixtures to look forward to in October 2023

As mentioned, Myanmar play Macau on Thursday, October 12th, to start the qualifiers in leg one of round one. On the same day, Chinese Taipei play Timor-Leste (East Timor), the Maldives play Bangladesh, and Nepal play Laos.

Also, Singapore play Guam, Indonesia play Brunei, Yemen play Sri Lanka, Hong Kong play Bhutan, Cambodia play Pakistan, and Afghanistan play Mongolia. The second leg will be played on October 17th.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the second-round fixtures that are coming soon (November 16th):

● Iran vs. TBD

● South Korea vs. TBD

● Iraq vs. TBD

● Malaysia vs Kyrgyzstan

● Turkmenistan vs. Uzbekistan

● Saudi Arabia vs. TBD

● Thailand vs. China

● United Arab Emirates vs. TBD

● Australia vs. TBD

● TBD vs. Bahrain

● Tajikistan vs. Jordan

● Lebanon vs. Palestine

● Kuwait vs. India

● Qatar vs. TBD

● Japan vs. TBD

● North Korea vs. Syria

● Philippines vs. Vietnam

Other upcoming fixtures on November 21st are Palestine vs. Australia, Syria vs. Japan, TBD vs. Thailand, Jordan vs. Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan vs. Oman, India vs. Qatar, and Vietnam vs. Iraq, to name a few.

What do the second-round groups look like?

The three teams in Group A (round 2) are India, Kuwait, and Qatar. In Group B, you have Japan, North Korea, and Syria. China, South Korea, and Thailand are in Group C, and Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, and Oman are in Group D.

In Group E are Iran, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Group F includes Iraq, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Tajikistan are in Group G. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are in Group H, which leaves Australia, Lebanon, and Palestine in Group I.

Which team will most likely win the 2026 FIFA World Cup?

As mentioned, it’s still very early days. However, many of today’s most trusted online bookmakers (licensed sports betting sites), such as the official 10bet India website, currently have France as the odds-on favorite team to win the tournament outright.

They are currently priced, on average, at around 5.50 in the decimal odds format, meaning the IPR (implied probability rate) of them winning is around 18.20%. In fractional odds, 5.50 is 9/2, and in American/moneyline odds, it’s +450.

Let’s now take a sneak peek at some of the latest odds for the other teams with the best chance of winning the 2026 FIFA World Cup outright:

● Brazil – 7.00 (6/1, or +600) with a 14.30% IPR

● England – 9.00 (8/1, or +800), with an 11.10% IPR

● Argentina – 10.00 (9/1, or +900), with a 10.00% IPR

● Spain – 10.00 (9/1, or +900), with a 10.00% IPR

Don’t forget that these odds are subject to change at any time, meaning although accurate at the time of writing, anything can happen between now and the start of the World Cup to change these odds. In other words, if you want to bet on the World Cup, remember to check for the latest and most up-to-date odds nearer the time.

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