North Korea and South Korea have been drawn together in an Asian qualifying group for soccer’s 2022 World Cup.
The Korean neighbors will play each other home and away in the five-nation Group H that includes Lebanon, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen were also paired in Wednesday’s draw that involved 40 national teams.
The Saudis, which played at the 2018 World Cup, are top-seeded in Group D that also has Uzbekistan, Palestine and Singapore.
Top-ranked Iran was drawn with neighboring Iraq, plus Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia, in Group C.
United Arab Emirates is top-seeded in a Group G loaded with Southeast Asian derbies, involving Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Australia, which plays in the Asian soccer confederation, will play Jordan, Taiwan, Kuwait and Nepal in Group B.
World Cup host Qatar also plays as this group stage doubles up as qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup being played in China. Qatar will play Oman, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh in Group E.
China is in Group A with Syria, Philippines, Maldives and Guam. Japan is in Group F with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Mongolia.
The eight groups play from September through June.
Group winners and the four best runners-up advance to another group stage, played from September 2020 to October 2021. Those 12 teams also qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup.
Four Asian teams will qualify directly for the World Cup. A fifth nation can advance to Qatar in an intercontinental playoff round in March 2022.
Asian World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 qualifying draw:
Group A: China, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam
Group B: Australia, Jordan, Taiwan, Kuwait, Nepal
Group C: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia
Group D: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore
Group E: Bangladesh, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Qatar
Group F: Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia
Group G: United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Group H: South Korea, Lebanon, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka
World Cup 2022 only target for new UAE coach Van MarwijkDutch coach Bert van Marwijk says getting the United Arab Emirates to the World Cup finals for only the second time in 2022 will be the sole focus of ... Sports
Kuwait: We won’t partner with Qatar in hosting World Cup 2022Sheikh Ahmed al-Yousef, head of Kuwait’s Football Association, said that Kuwait cannot facilitate the conditions of participating in hosting ... Sports
FIFA should expand 2022 World Cup to 48 teams if possible: InfantinoFIFA should if possible increase the size of the soccer World Cup in Qatar in 2022 to 48 from 32 teams, the global governing body's president Gianni ... Sports
Too early to discuss 48-team World Cup in 2022, Infantino saysFIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Sunday the global soccer governing body would not discuss the possibility of having a 48-team World Cup in ... Sports