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Rising stars set for 2020 Qualifiers

Kuala Lumpur: The draw for the AFC U-19 Championship 2020 Qualifiers concluded at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday with the 46 teams discovering their opponents.

The teams were divided into two zones of WEST (West + South + Central) with 25 teams and EAST (East +ASEAN) with 21 teams.

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Group A will see five-time champions Iraq face Pakistan, Kuwait, Palestine and Oman, while 2014 winners and 2018 semi-finalists Qatar have Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and Yemen for company in Group B.

Quarter-finalists in 2018, Turkmenistan will make their presence felt in Group C alongside Maldives, Lebanon and 1994 champions Syria.

Four-time champions Islamic Republic of Iran missed the last edition in Indonesia and will be hoping to make amends in Group D when they host Nepal, Kyrygz Republic and United Arab Emirates, who were the champions in 2008.

Group E pits 2016 quarter-finalists Bahrain against Bhutan, Bangladesh and Jordan, while defending champions Saudi Arabia will entertain Afghanistan, India and Uzbekistan in Group F.

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Cambodia, who missed the 2018 edition on goal difference, last made the Finals in 1974 and the young Angkor Warriors have Northern Mariana Islands, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Thailand for company in Group G.

Chinese Taipei ended their campaign in the group stages in 2018 and will entertain Laos, Macau and Australia in Group H, while Group I sees seven-time champions Myanmar take on Singapore, Guus Hiddink’s China PR and 12-time champions Korea Republic.

Vietnam will be making their sixth appearance in the Finals and have Guam, Mongolia and 2016 champions Japan in Group J.

Three-time champions DPR Korea have never missed qualifying for the Finals since 2006 and will face Indonesia, Timor Leste and Hong Kong in Group K.

Top spot in the respective groups will earn direct qualification, while the four best second-placed teams will also advance to the 2020 Finals.

Should the yet to be determined host for the Finals finish either top of their group or among the best four second-placed teams, the next (5th) second-placed team in the ranking among all groups will qualify instead.

The Qualifiers will be played on November 2-10, 2019.