World Cup, Asian Cup qualifiers postponed to next year

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The AFC and FIFA issued a joint statement Wednesday saying the delay is to protect the health and safety of all participants during the Covid-19 pandemic. The games will be rescheduled in 2021.

football Updated: Aug 12, 2020 15:17 IST

Football Football(REUTERS)

The Asian Football Confederation has postponed all men’s qualifiers scheduled in October and November for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.

The AFC and FIFA issued a joint statement Wednesday saying the delay is to protect the health and safety of all participants during the Covid-19 pandemic. The games will be rescheduled in 2021.

Domestic leagues have resumed in China, South Korea, Japan and Australia but under strict health protocols.

There are 40 national teams involved in the second round of World Cup Asian qualifying, which had already been delayed in March and June as the coronavirus spread across the region.

The top team in each of the eight groups and the four best runners-up will advance to the third stage of qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Japan leads group F with four wins from four games without conceding a goal. South Korea, a World Cup semifinalist in 2002, is on eight points in Group H along with North Korea and Lebanon, a point behind leading Turkmenistan.

Australia leads Group B with four straight wins, two points clear of Kuwait and Jordan, and Syria has won five straight to lead Group A by eight points from China and the Philippines.

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