India Will Face Tough Challenge At 2019 Asian Cup: Chhetri

AFC Asian Cup Draw : As It Happened

The Philippine Azkals were again put in a so-called "Group of Death" after being bracketed with regional powerhouses South Korea and China for their maiden appearance in the Asian Cup slated January in the United Arab Emirates.

The tournament will take place from Jan 5-Feb 1.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar were drawn in the same group for the 2019 Asian Cup, increasing the ongoing political edginess to a tournament eight months away. The pinnacle was at the 13th Asian Cup, when it lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and jumped to the best ever FIFA Ranking. Instead, they have been clubbed with hosts UAE in Group A, along with Thailand and Bahrain.

The Zayed Sports City Stadium will also host the final on February 1, 2019 after 28 days of enthralling action with the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium and Al Nahyan Stadium hosting the remaining matches in Abu Dhabi.

"The other three teams in the group have a higher Federation Internationale de Football Association ranking than Thailand, but we are ready to play against every team in the group".

"I hope that we keep using all the global windows available in the year". I'm happy that we have broken inside the top 100 but the way it works is very tricky.

"He's played against us twice with Saudi and there's a lot of respect for what he did in 2010". Chhetri though said it is going to be extremely tough and it is more important that India as a team is judged before talking about the opponents.

"I repeat that the coach and the players should try to make good use of this opportunity".

Chhetri, on Sunday, said that India have to first improve within the continent and only then they can start looking at the whole wide world.

Advancing to the 2019 Asian Cup set for the UAE in 2019 was not a hard task against relatively unknown teams in the Asian continent. "We know we will have to beat the best to get to the top and that's what we will do". "Obviously it will not be easy but I think there are possibilities to qualify from this group". We're playing against the hosts in the opening game in front of 50,000 to 60,000 spectators which should be a great game for our team.

Meanwhile, defending champions Australia were handed an intriguing draw.

Australia won their maiden AFC Asian Cup in 2015 on home soil when a goal from James Troisi in extra time sealed a win over South Korea.

The two met last September in a thrilling World Cup qualification play-off, when Australia triumphed narrowly across two legs to halt Syria's incredible run.

In an action-packed night graced by some of the biggest names in Asian football, the final draw also introduced a $14.8 million total prize money, the unveiling of a stunning new trophy, a cutting-edge Molten match ball and the launch of the tournament's official mascots - Mansour and Jarrah.

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