Vietnam national football team will resume the World Cup 2022 qualification campaign in March 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has approved World Cup 2022 qualifying fixtures and other tournaments following a Wednesday meeting.
It was agreed that all second round Asian qualifiers should conclude by June 2021. The first two games will take place on March 25 and 30 while the remaining matches commence on June 10 and 15.
Vietnam national team are set to play Malaysia away on March 30, Indonesia at home on June 7, and UAE away on June 15.
They will need at least seven more points from the remaining three matches to secure a spot in the final qualification round for World Cup 2022.
With FIFA approval, the final round of the qualifiers will start in September and its 10 matchdays should be finished by the end of March 2022, with Asian and Intercontinental play-offs to be staged in May and June 2022. The Asian play-off is proposed as a single match, while its Intercontinental counterpart would include two legs as usual.
Tran Quoc Tuan, AFC Competitions Committee head, who chaired the meeting, said: “2021 is expected to be a challenging year because many Asian tournaments will take place while the Covid-19 pandemic has yet to be fully contained. Therefore, AFC Competitions Committee members have carefully discussed plans to successfully and safely host these tournaments, from club to national level.”
The AFC U23 Championship 2022 bidding process was also agreed upon. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in China as preparation for Asian Cup 2023 but the Chinese Football Association (CFA) stated it could no longer host the event.
It is intended that all future AFC U23 Championship tournaments in non-Olympic years will be hosted by the association member hosting the subsequent Asian Cup. Dates for AFC U23 Championship 2022 remain to be finalized.
AFC U19 Championship will take place from March 3 to 20 next year in Uzbekistan, while the dates for AFC U16 Championship in Bahrain would be announced later. AFC has also accepted changes to AFC U16 Championship eligibility rules, allowing players born on or after January 1, 2004 to partake in the tournament.
Vietnam will take part in all of AFC’s tournaments at every level next year.
Vietnam has one representative at AFC Champions League 2021 – V. League 1 champion Viettel FC, with Hanoi FC and Saigon FC set to compete in AFC Cup.