Asian Cup: Qatar drawn with Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and DPR Korea

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Eight venues across the United Arab Emirates will play host to the competition, with Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium hosting the final on 1 February. Group D features Iran, Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen while South Korea take on China, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines in Group C.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, were drawn on Friday in Group E beside North Korea and Lebanon.

While the hosts will pose a real test, Thailand coach Milovan Rajevac is likely to be satisfied with the outcome of the draw, with India and Bahrain shaping up as two very winnable matches. Although India have improved in the rankings (ahead of Bahrain and Thailand), the true picture will not be reflected till India play regular matches against quality teams.

This is for the first time that an Indian footballer was asked to be associated with the draw ceremony for the Asian championship.

Australia won their maiden AFC Asian Cup in 2015 on home soil when a goal from James Troisi in extra time sealed a win over South Korea. They had finished runners-up in 1964 and were ousted from group stages in 1984 and 2011.

The Red Warriors will also face-off against Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who occupy the other two spots in the group.

AFC President Shaikh Salman said: "Since 1956 we have had the same trophy and in keeping with the new and exciting future of the competition, the AFC made a decision to commission a new trophy, one that captures the excitement and drama of the tournament ahead". When the trophy is finally uplifted the trophy plinth separates and contains the rich legacy of previous winners.

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.