India placed in same group as Australia and Kuwait in 2023 AFC Asian Under-20 Cup qualifiers

India have been placed in Group D of the U-17 Asian Cup, along with hosts Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Maldives and Kuwait. For the 2023 AFC Asian Under-20 Cup qualifier, India have been placed in a tough Group H alongside Iraq, Australia and Kuwait, where they would be difficult to progress.

Iraq have won the AFC Asian Under-20 Cup five times, while Kuwait have finished third twice. Australia, who joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 2006, finished second in 2010 and reached the semi-finals twice. India won the Asian Junior Football Championship in 1974, led by legendary Shabbir Ali, but have not reached the continental final since hosting the tournament in 2006.

The AFC U-19 Championship was originally known as the AFC U20 Asian Cup, which will be played in Uzbekistan next year. 43 countries will fight for the remaining 15 places in the AFC U20 Asian Cup 2023 qualifier, which will take place from September 10-18 this year. Hosts Uzbekistan have already qualified for the tournament but will take part in the qualifiers. They are in Group A with 2018 winners Saudi Arabia, but qualifying will not include host nation matches.

For the qualifications, the 44 teams were divided into ten groups. The top ten teams from each group will advance to the main tournament the following year. Matches for each group will take place in a central location. Basra International Stadium in Iraq will host India’s Group H matches.

The 2023 AFC Asian Under-17 Cup qualifiers were also drawn on Tuesday at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. India have been placed in Group D along with two-time winners Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Maldives and Kuwait after reaching the quarter-finals in the previous edition. The 2023 AFC U17 Asian Cup will take place in Bahrain next year, with qualifying taking place from October 1-9.

In the qualifiers, 43 teams will battle it out for the remaining 15 spots in the main tournament, similar to the U20 version. Bahrain will participate in the qualifiers and will be placed in Group C. The top ten teams from each group, along with the five best runners-up, will qualify for the main event. Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in Dammam will host Indian Group D.

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