The final draws of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 took place on Thursday, May 11 at the Katara Opera House in Doha. India are clubbed with Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria in Group B of the competition. It is to be noted that India is the lowest-ranked team in the group with the FIFA ranking being 101, with Australia being the highest-ranked team and one of the title contenders with the ranking of world number 29.
The Blue Tigers, who are placed alongside some giants, will have a tough task ahead of this tournament but they also have the opportunity to upset the big boys and announce themselves to the footballing world. Meanwhile, Australia, Uzbekistan (74th) and Syria (ranked 90th) are all currently stronger on paper than the Blue Tigers.
Talking about the defending champions and hosts Qatar, they have been placed in Group A along with China. Debutant Tajikistan and Lebanon have placed in Group A as well. The most successful in the competition and the highest-ranked team, Japan, is placed in Group D with Indonesia, Vietnam, and Iraq. Saudi Arabia, who beat Argentina at the FIFA World Cup last year are in Group F along with Thailand Kygryz Republic, and Oman.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, Senior Men’s National Team head coach Igor Stimac, and women’s national coach Maymol Rocky were also present at the Qatar Opera House for the official draw ceremony. It is to be added that India have qualified in successive Asian Cups for the first time in its history.
This will be India’s fifth appearance in the AFC Asian Cup, with the Blue Tigers having participated at the continental level in 1964, 1984, 2011, and 2019 previously. India will start their AFC Asian Cup 2023 campaign against Australia on January 13, followed by a match against Uzbekistan and Syria on January 19 and 20 respectively.
Here is the full schedule of the AFC Asian Cup 2023: