The qualifying matches for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 have been decided.
Qatar hosted its first FIFA Arab Cup 2021 draw on Tuesday, bringing together 14 teams to go head to head at the qualifying round.
The seven national squads will join the nine highest-ranked teams at the tournament: host nation Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Syria.
FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™ Draw
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) April 27, 2021
Oman or Somalia
Bahrain or Kuwait
United Arab Emirates
Mauritania or Yemen
Jordan or South Sudan
Palestine or Comoros
Lebanon or Djibouti
Libya or Sudan
“The tournament will consist of a group stage and knockout rounds. The 16 teams will be split into four groups of four, with the top two from each progressing to the quarter-finals. Matches will be played at six FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ tournament venues,” FIFA said in its report on Tuesday.
The draw in the Qatari capital on Tuesday was made by four footballing legends; Egypt’s Wael Gomaa, Saudi Arabia’s Nawaf Al Temyat, Sudan’s Haytham Mustafa and Iraq’s Younus Mahmood, as well as FIFA’s Director of Competitions, Manolo Zubiria.
The draw was held at the Katara Opera House and attended by a limited number of officials, in line with Qatar’s Covid-19 guidelines.
“The 14 lowest-ranked teams according to the April edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s World Ranking will participate in single-leg play-offs ahead of the tournament, which will be held later this year,” FIFA said, noting 23 Arab nations will take part in the historic event.
According to the rankings, the play-offs were decided as follows: Oman (FIFA World Ranking: 80) vs Somalia (197), Lebanon (93) vs Djibouti (183), Jordan (95) vs South Sudan (169), Bahrain (99) vs Kuwait (148), Mauritania (101) vs Yemen (145), Palestine (104) vs Comoros (131), and Libya (119) vs Sudan (123).
The long-awaited tournament will be held at the end of 2021 and is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities a year before Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup.
Matches will take place at six Qatar stadiums, most of which are complete, while others are in the final stages of construction.
The finals of the Arab Cup 2021 and the 2022 World Cup are set to take place on the same date, 18 December, but one year apart. This also comes in conjunction with Qatar’s National Day.
The 23 nations participating in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 are Qatar (host nation), Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.