The draw for the opening round of Asian qualification for the 2018 World Cup has been made, accounting for the weakest twelve countries in the Asian Confederation, which of course includes our current lone Worst in the World; Bhutan.
The set of home and away fixtures see Bhutan pitted against Sri Lanka, a team ranked 37 places higher than them in the world rankings, sitting in 172nd place, or 36th in Asia compared to Bhutan’s 46th. Of all the possible opponents at this stage (the best 6 of the twelve teams at this stage), only India are higher ranked than Sri Lanka so it’s fair to say that Bhutan haven’t been overly fortunate in the opponent they’ve been drawn against.
Asian qualification is doubling up as Asian Cup qualification this time around, which sounds odd considering the last Asian Cup Finals has only just finished in Australia, but it’s to prevent the past issues of meaningless qualifying rounds to find the 16 Asian Cup finalist and to include all Asian nations in that process; something that hasn’t been the case for the past few tournaments. Continue reading