AFC Asian Cup: Azkals grouped with China, South Korea

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The first match featuring Molten balls will kick off on January 5, 2019 at the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 - an event that enjoys a television reach of more than two billion people.

India await their 2019 AFC Asian Cup group opponents as the draw takes place on Friday at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The draw for the 24-team event was made in Dubai on Friday with top-seeded Australia facing Syria and Jordan, who they met en route to qualification for the World Cup in Russian Federation, and Palestine in Group B.

Group D features three-time champions Iran, 2007 champions Iraq, Yemen, and Vietnam, while Group E features Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, and North Korea.

Group C: South Korea, China, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines.

Hosts UAE were drawn in Group A and will play the opening match of the tournament against West Asian rivals Bahrain in Abu Dhabi on 5 January.

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India will play 2 games in Abu Dhabi and one game will be played at Sharjah.

The Red Warriors will also face-off against Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who occupy the other two spots in the group. Qualifying to the Asian Cup for the second time in eight years is great for Indian football.

Ahead of the draw, the new Asian Cup trophy was unveiled by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa and former UAE global Zuhair Bakheet.

India sealed their qualification to the main draw back in October 2017 with two games to spare.

"The players are very professional and we're going to think only about the football", he said. Additionally, the new trophy for the competition was presented.

Chhetri also added that the Asian Cup gives them the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best of Asia and play against players who many of whom play in many a Premier League across Europe and other parts of the world.