Bangladesh into final round of Asian Cup Qualifiers
Bangladesh were dealt a huge slice of luck as the men in red and green were deemed qualified for the final round of Asian Cup Qualifiers despite finishing at the bottom of Group E with only two points.
According to a press release from the Asian Football Confederation, Bangladesh were the last team (35th) that qualified for the final round of qualifiers, with the bottom four teams slated for a playoff round.
This is a diversion by the AFC from the previously stated system, believed to be aimed at simplifying the qualifying process in face of the pandemic. In the previous system, Bangladesh would have had to play in the playoff round to secure a place in the final round of qualifiers. But the revised system allowed the three best fifth-position teams across the eight groups to qualify. Bangladesh finished as the third best fifth-position team with two draws from their eight Round 2 matches.
"Following the conclusion of the Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2, 13 participating teams, including AFC Asian Cup 2023 host China PR and FIFA World Cup 2022 host and reigning Asian champions Qatar have sealed their places for the Continental showpiece, which is scheduled to take place from June 16 to July 16, 2023," an AFC statement today said
"Three of the lowest ranked second-placed teams, all eight third and fourth-placed teams across Groups A to H, as well as three best fifth-placed teams – 22 teams in total – have qualified for the 24-team AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers Final Round," the statement added.
Here are the sides who will be participating in #ACQ2023
Meanwhile, teams will compete in a play-off to secure the remaining slots for the 24-team tournament! #AsianQualifiers pic.twitter.com/qc7TiHzfLL #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) June 16, 2021
The matches of the third round of qualifiers will be held between February 2022 and September 2022. Split into six groups, 24 teams will compete for the remaining 11 slots of the Asian Cup proper. Whether or not Bangladesh qualify for the tournament proper, the third round will ensure Jamie Day's men get to rub shoulders with quality Asian oppositions in six more matches.