Qatar eye draw as battle for 2018 World Cup spot hots up

 12 Apr 2016 - 1:47

Qatar eye draw as battle for 2018 World Cup spot hots up
Qatari football players take part in a training session at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on the eve of their 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 qualifying match against Maldives in this file photo.


DOHA: Qatar football coach Jose Carreno will be eager to find out the group teams today when the third round draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign are made in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. 
Carreno and Qatar Football Association (QFA) official representative Ahmed Hassan have arrived in Kuala Lumpur to attend the proceedings of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers final round draw to be held today. 
In total, 12 teams will be involved in the proceedings, namely the 8 group winners and the four best second-placed teams from the currently on-going qualification process.
Eight AFC Member Associations have qualified for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Final Round by virtue of finishing as group winners from Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 with another four also qualifying as the four best second-placed teams.
They will be drawn into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away under the round-robin format.
The winner and runner-up of each group (four teams in total) will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia finals while the third-placed teams of each group (two teams in total) will advance to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Play-off Round.
The winner of the Asian Play-off Round (one team in total) will take on the side that finishes fourth in the fifth round of the CONCACAF qualifiers in a two-legged inter-confederation playoff.
The 12 nations, seeded based on the latest FIFA rankings which were released on April 7, will be drawn from six country pots as follows:
Qatar, hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, impressed in the first round of qualifying when they topped Group C with seven wins out of eight games. Russia 2018 represents Qatar’s last chance to qualify for a World Cup on merit before automatically playing as hosts in 2022. If Carreno’s emerging side manage to progress from the third round, they will make history as the first Qatari team to play in football’s biggest tournament.
“It is important that we are there (Russia),” Hassan Al-Thawadi, head of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body overseeing organisation of the 2022 World Cup, told AFP yesterday.
“The fact of having 2022 is an extra motivation for the players,” Al Thawadi added.
Qatar won the first seven of their eight Group C matches, losing only to China in the final match, when Qatar’s progress to the next round was already assured. Along the way they set a record for their biggest ever victory -- 15-0 versus Bhutan -- and finished with a goal difference of plus-25.The Peninsula