AFC releases the selection roadmap for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

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Kathmandu: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has released the selection roadmap for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Executive Committee of AFC has discussed with its member countries and approved the qualification format of the Asian region which consists of four stages.

48 teams will participate in the 2026 World Cup. While 8 teams from Asia will be directly qualified, one team will be allowed to play intercontinental play-offs.

According to the format announced by AFC, there will be four rounds of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in Asia. In which Nepal will have to play from the first stage.

In the first round, the teams ranked from 26th to 47th in Asia will play. In Asia, Nepal’s ranking is behind 30. That is why Nepal has to play the first round.

In this one team will play with another team on home and away basis. In this phase, 11 winning teams will enter the second phase. Where 1 to 25 ranked and 11 winners of the first round will compete with 36 teams.

36 teams will be divided into 9 groups and each group will have four teams. Each group match will be played on a home and away basis.

From which a total of 18 teams, including group winners and group runners-up, will be directly qualified for the Asia Cup in 2027 and will enter the third stage of the World Cup qualifiers.

In the third stage, 18 teams will be divided into three groups of 6 teams. The group winners and runners-up of each team will qualify directly to the World Cup.

Similarly, in the third stage of the Asian playoffs, the third and fourth teams will be divided into two groups. Out of which the two teams that will win the group will qualify for the World Cup.

There will be a match between the second placed teams to go to the intercontinental playoffs.

Likewise, the teams that were defeated in the first round of qualifying for the remaining places of the Asia Cup 2017 will also be given another chance. Which will be called Asia Cup Qualifier Playoffs. The 10 defeated teams in the first round will be drawn on a home and away basis.

From this, the 5 winning teams will be selected for the final round of the Asia Cup.

In the final round of selection, the best 1 team among those defeated in the first round of selection, in the second round of selection, a total of 18 teams that finished 3rd and 4th in 9 groups and 5 from the Asian Cup Qualifiers Playoffs will play.

The 24 teams will be divided into 6 groups and only the winners of each group will qualify for the Asia Cup 2027.

The Asia Cup will be held between 18 teams selected in the second round and 6 teams in the final round.

According to AFC, this permit has been prepared based on the registered 47 member countries of Asia and the number of teams may not change according to the last registration number.

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