Dubai: Defending champions Iran and group rivals in the last edition Australia will renew acquaintances after they were placed into Group C of the AFC Futsal Championship UAE 2012 during a draw ceremony on Sunday.
Both nations, who proceeded into the quarterfinals in 2010 where Australia crashed out at the hands of Uzbekistan, have been pooled into the group along with Qatar and Korea Republic who bowed out of the last edition having finished at the bottom of Group C.
Thailand and Kyrgyzstan, who also became quarterfinalists in the last edition, were also drawn together into Group A along with fellow Central Asians Turkmenistan and UAE who gained automatic qualification as hosts.
Also last edition’s fellow group contenders Lebanon and Chinese Taipei were drawn into Group B with 2010 third-place winners Japan and Lebanon completing the group.
Last edition’s runners-up Uzbekistan and fourth-place winners China PR have been pooled into Group D with Indonesia and Kuwait, both of whom crashed out of their respective groups in 2010.
AFC Director of Futsal Ali Targholizadeh conducted the draw which started at 4pm Malaysian time.
Iran, Uzbekistan and Japan gained automatic qualification into the finals on 25 May-1 June 2012 by virtue of finishing in the top three positions in the 2010 championship.
Each of the four groups will play a one-round league where each team in the group shall play one match against every other team.
The top two in each group (eight teams in total) will qualify to the knockout stage (quarterfinals) and the four winners of the quarterfinals will play in the semi-finals. The two winners will advance to the final and the two losing teams will play a 3rd and 4th placing play-off.