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Preview: Group D


Wednesday, September 4, 2019
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Kuala Lumpur: Group D of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will see exciting match-ups involving Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen and Singapore.


The eight group winners and four best runners-up will advance to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals and the final round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

However, should Qatar - having already qualified as hosts - win their group, the seven other group winners and five best second-placed sides will advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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The same applies should Qatar finish as one of the four best second-placed teams, with the fifth best group runners-up advancing to the third round of the Qualifiers.

The next best 24 teams from the second round of the Asian Qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining 12 slots in the 24-team AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at the Group D cast.


SAUDI ARABIA

FIFA Ranking: 68
AFC Asian Cup Record: Champions (1984, 1988, 1996)
FIFA World Cup Record: Round of 16 (1994)
Head Coach: Hervé Renard (FRA)

استعدادًا لخوض الجولة الأول من التصفيات المؤهلة لنهائيات كأس العالم 2022 وكأس آسيا 2023.

— إيرڤي رينارد يختار 26 لاعبًا لمعسكر الأخضر في الدمام.🇸🇦

— إليكم قائمتنا الرسمية⬇️#معاك_يالأخضر pic.twitter.com/kcAQCNftLQ

— المنتخب السعودي (@SaudiNT) August 31, 2019

Head coach Hervé Renard has boldly targeted a place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and Saudi Arabia, given their quality and experience, will be the team to beat in Group D.

Renard has spent much time in ensuring the best are picked and Saudi Arabia will hit the ground running.


UZBEKISTAN

FIFA Ranking: 84
AFC Asian Cup Record: Fourth place (2011)
FIFA World Cup Record: No previous appearances
Head Coach: Héctor Cúper (ARG)

📋 Futbol bo‘yicha O‘zbekiston milliy terma jamoasining mashg‘ulotidan fotolavhalar 📷 #TeamUzbekistan pic.twitter.com/ntwpnoo0OT

— Team Uzbekistan (@TeamUzbekistan) August 30, 2019

Uzbekistan very narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and their recent form suggests the Central Asians are peaking nicely for the Asian Qualifiers, having defeated DPR Korea 4-0 and Syria 2-0 in friendlies.

They are always a force and head coach Hector Cuper will have them firing on all cylinders.


PALESTINE

FIFA Ranking: 102
AFC Asian Cup Finals Record: Group Stage (2015, 2019)
FIFA World Cup Finals Record: No previous appearances
Head Coach: Noureddine Ould Ali (ALG)

On their day, Palestine can trouble the best of teams and head coach Noureddine Ould Ali will be drilling his players on the need to be consistent in a tough group.

Their target will be a third consecutive appearance in the AFC Asian Cup Finals and if they can finish in the top two spots in the standings, the experience of playing Asia's best teams in the third round will be invaluable.


YEMEN

FIFA Ranking: 142
AFC Asian Cup Record: Group Stage (2019)
FIFA World Cup Record: No previous appearances
Head Coach: Sami Hasan Al Nash (YEM)

Yemen impressed in the recent West Asian Football Federation Championship, holding Syria to a 1-1 draw and then coming from a goal down to defeat Lebanon 2-1 and they will be aiming to carry this form into the Asian Qualifiers.

They featured in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 as a unified nation for the first time and will be eager for a second appearance in the Finals.


SINGAPORE

🇸🇬 Tatsuma has called up 23 players for the upcoming @FIFAWorldCup and @afcasiancup qualifiers against Yemen and Palestine 🦁 Roar our Lions on as we target a winning start at home! 💪 #ONESTRONG Read more ➡️ https://t.co/JWGw9mTbHI

Get tickets NOW at https://t.co/lWy1WR4K5S 🏟 pic.twitter.com/zt76GVAbwR

— FAS (@FASingapore) August 27, 2019

FIFA Ranking: 162
AFC Asian Cup Record: Group Stage (1984)
FIFA World Cup Record: No previous appearances
Head Coach: Tatsuma Yoshida (JPN)

Singapore will have it all to do against their group stage opponents but with Japan’s Tatsuma Yoshida, guiding them, the Southeast Asians will be hopeful of achieving results.

It won't be easy but Singapore have not played in the AFC Asian Cup Finals since their only appearance in 1984 on home soil and this will motivate them to aim.


FIXTURES

Matchday 1 - September 5: Palestine vs Uzbekistan; Singapore vs Yemen
Matchday 2 - September 10: Yemen vs Saudi Arabia; Singapore vs Palestine
Matchday 3 - October 10: Saudi Arabia vs Singapore; Uzbekistan vs Yemen
Matchday 4 - October 15: Palestine vs Saudi Arabia; Singapore vs Uzbekistan
Matchday 5 - November 14: Yemen vs Palestine; Uzbekistan vs Saudi Arabia
Matchday 6 - November 19: Uzbekistan vs Palestine; Yemen vs Singapore
Matchday 7 - March 26: Saudi Arabia vs Yemen; Palestine vs Singapore
Matchday 8 - March 31: Singapore vs Saudi Arabia; Yemen vs Uzbekistan
Matchday 9 - June 4: Uzbekistan vs Singapore; Saudi Arabia vs Palestine
Matchday 10 - June 9: Palestine vs Yemen; Saudi Arabia vs Uzbekistan

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