Kuwait to face South Korea in third round of Asian World Cup qualifying

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A file photo of the Kuwait national team.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: The draw for the third round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup placed Kuwait in Group B, alongside South Korea, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, and Palestine. The draw was held at the Asian Football Confederation headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The qualifying matches will take place in September, October, November, March, and June, with two matches scheduled each month.
Kuwait will kick off its campaign on September 5 against Jordan in Amman, followed by a home game against Iraq on September 10. In the third round, it will travel to Muscat to face Oman on October 10, and then meet Palestine on October 15.

The fifth round will see Kuwait hosting South Korea on November 14, and then Jordan on November 19. In the seventh round, Kuwait will play away against Iraq on March 20, 2025, and then host Oman on March 25. The team will face Palestine on June 5, 2025, and conclude the qualifiers against South Korea in Seoul on June 10.

Director of National Teams at the Football Association, Saud Al-Mujammad, acknowledged the difficulty of the draw. He stated, “We are in a tough group and must prepare thoroughly, as we will face very competitive and challenging matches. This stage demands a new approach to thinking and planning, and we must harness all efforts to support our national team.”

Japan, Australia, and Saudi Arabia will face each other in the third round of Asia’s World Cup qualification for a third cycle in a row following Thursday’s draw in Kuala Lumpur.
The three powerhouses, with 19 World Cup appearances between them, have been placed in Group C with Bahrain, China, and Indonesia.

Asia’s automatic allocation has increased from four teams in 2022 to eight in 2026. The top two from each of the three groups of six will qualify for the World Cup, while the six teams that finish third and fourth will progress to the fourth round of qualification to play off for two more places.
Australia coach Graham Arnold believes that his team is stronger than before.

“In the last campaign, we didn’t have the depth in the team that we have today,” Arnold, in charge since 2018, said. “A lot of people are sitting back and thinking that there are 8 1/2 teams potentially going to be qualifying and that it’s going to be easier, but the draw has shown today that there are three tough groups.”

Group A consists of Iran, which has appeared at the last three World Cups, and Asian champion Qatar, the 2022 host seeking to qualify for the first time. Uzbekistan can make a first appearance, as can Central Asian neighbor Kyrgyzstan. The United Arab Emirates made it in 1990, while North Korea qualified in 1966 and 2010.

Tim Cahill, the former Australia international who is now the Qatar Soccer Association’s technical director, is looking forward to the challenge.
“We always have to believe there is a chance,” Cahill said. “Now we know who we are going to play, and what it comes down to is the preparation, logistics, and making sure the squad is ready mentally and physically. This is a different stage for us, and it will involve traveling and visiting many countries. It will be difficult, but we have to play.”

Group A: Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, UAE, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan

Group B: South Korea, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Kuwait

Group C: Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China, Indonesia

By Hassan Musa
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff And Agencies

This news has been read 675 times!

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