World cup 2010 qualifiers: Nepal pitted against Oman

Kathmandu, August 7:

Nepal is pitted against Oman in the opening two rounds of the Asian Zone qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

The draw took place on Monday at AFC Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

The 39th ranked Nepal will play the away match against 14th ranked Oman in the 43-team Asian Zone on October 8. Nepal, who opted out of the 2006 qualifiers, will host Oman in the second leg on October 28 in Kathmandu.

The preliminary campaign sees Asia employ a different format from the previous editions with its teams battling it out for the 4.5 berths after a four-round qualifying process.

The seeding for all the 43 countries in the Asian Zone is based on the results from the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany and earlier qualifying rounds. As a result, Australia lead a top five also featuring South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Iran.

While the top five teams have a bye until the third round, the remaining 38 teams ranked from sixth to 43rd have to go through a knockout opening round.

From the 19 teams that emerge as winners from the opening round, the lowest eight based on the ranking have to lock horns against each other in the second round while the other eleven join the five highest ranked nations in the third round.

First round pairings

Pakistan - Iraq

Uzbekistan - Chinese Taipei

Thailand - Macau

Sri Lanka - Qatar

China - Myanmar

Bhutan - Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan - Jordan

Vietnam - UAE

Bahrain - Malaysia

Timor Leste - Hong Kong

Syria - Afghanistan

Yemen - Maldives

Bangladesh - Tajikistan

Mongolia - DPR Korea

Oman - Nepal

Palestine - Singapore

Lebanon - India

Cambodia - Turkmenistan

Guam - Indonesia