The tournament will act as a preparatory event for the 2022 World Cup…
The draw for the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup was held in Doha on Tuesday, with the teams divided into four groups after a qualification stage.
The tournament is set to act as a preparatory competition to test the operational readiness of Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup which will be held in the Middle-East nation.
The draw for the FIFA Arab Cup was held at the Katara Opera House in Doha after following relevant Covid-19 protocols.
The competition will feature 23 Arab nations belonging to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The 23 nations participating in the FIFA Arab Cup are: Qatar (host nation), Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The tournament will see the top nine ranked sides (according to the April edition of FIFA rankings) qualify for the group stages automatically. The top nine sides are Qatar, Iraq, Tunisia, UAE, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt.
The 14-lowest ranked sides will play single-leg knockout qualifiers, with seven teams advancing to the group stages.
From the four groups, group winners and runner-ups advance to the quarter-finals.
The 14-lowest ranked sides have been paired in single-leg qualification play-offs as per their April FIFA rankings.
The match-ups are as follows:
Oman (80) v. Somalia (197)
Lebanon (93) v. Djibouti (183)
Jordan (95) v. South Sudan (169)
Bahrain (99) v. Kuwait (148)
Mauritania (101) v. Yemen (145)
Palestine (104) v. Comoros (131)
Libya (119) v. Sudan (123)
Group stage draw
16 teams in the group stage have been drawn into four groups of four. The draw is as follows:
Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Winner of Oman v Somalia and Winner of Bahrain v Kuwait
Group B: Tunisia, UAE, Syria and Winner of Mauritania v Yemen
Group C: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Winner of Jordan v South Sudan and Winner of Palestine v Comoros
Group D: Algeria, Egypt, Winner of Lebanon v Djibouti and Winner of Libya v Sudan
It must be noted that the 2022 World Cup will feature eight venues in total. Six of these venues will play hosts for the Arab Cup.
Qatar have already thrown open four venues for the 2022 World Cup while the work at the rest are progressing on schedule. The venues that have been thrown open are the Khalifa International stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali stadium, Al Janoub stadium and Education City stadium.
The group stages of the tournament will begin on 30 November 2021 and the final will take place on 18 December 2021, exactly one year before the 2022 World Cup final is scheduled to take place.
The first match of the tournament will see hosts and Asian champions Qatar take on the winner of the qualifier between Bahrain and Kuwait.