The draw for the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 was held at Katara Opera House on Tuesday evening, 27 April. The nine highest-ranked teams, including host country Qatar, will join the seven winners from the qualifying stage in the final tournament.
The 16 teams have been drawn into four groups of four, 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
The draw ceremony was attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Qatar Olympic Committee President HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Football Association President HE Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, Union of Arab Football Associations President HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and Confederation of African Football President Patrice Motsepe.
The draw was led by four Arab football legends: Wael Gomaa (Egypt), Nawaf Al Temyat (Saudi Arabia), Haytham Mustafa (Sudan) and Younus Mahmood (Iraq), along with FIFA Director of Competitions Manolo Zubiria.
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The tournament will be held from 1 to 18 December, jointly organised by the FIFA and the Union of Arab Football Associations.
Addressing the ceremony, FIFA President Gianni Infantino extended his thanks to HH The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for the historic moment.
Infantino said that the upcoming edition of the Arab Cup will be distinguished, especially as it will be the first edition to be organised under the supervision of FIFA, stressing that the tournament will be the best eyewitness to what the State of Qatar will present in the FIFA World Cup 2022, and millions of people will discover the football qualifications of the Arabs during this sporting event.
He added that Qatar is making every effort to host the first edition of the Arab Cup under the supervision of FIFA, and reiterated that the tournament will be the best and most beautiful edition.
In conclusion, the FIFA President stressed the importance of this tournament which celebrates the brotherhood among all Arab teams and delivers a message to all parts of the world that the tournament will pave the way for the 2022 World Cup.
Matches of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 includes 23 Arab national teams and will be played at six FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament venues.
The participating teams include the teams of Qatar – the host nation – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.
Of the 23 nations involved, the 14 lowest-ranked teams according to the April edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s World Ranking will participate in single-leg play-offs ahead of the tournament, which will be held later this year.
The seven winning teams will join the nine highest-ranked teams who have already qualified for the tournament: Qatar (58), Tunisia (26), Algeria (33), Morocco (34), Egypt (46), Saudi Arabia (65), Iraq (68), the United Arab Emirates (73) and Syria (79).
The tournament will consist of a group stage and knockout rounds. The 16 teams are split into four groups of four, with the top two from each progressing to the quarter-finals.
The tournament will take place later this year during a similar timeslot to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. It is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities exactly a year before Qatar hosts the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world.
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