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

India captain Sunil Chhetri with coach Stephen Constantine

India were handed over a relatively easy draw in Group "A" for the upcoming 2019 AFC Asian Cup alongside hosts UAE, the other two teams being Bahrain and Thailand.

The coach of the host nation of the 2019 edition of the Asian Cup cut a confident figure while sounding cautious about their group opponents. We are in fact the second highest ranked team in the group, so that puts us in a good position.

Rounding out the field is Group F, with four-time champions Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, and Turkmenistan.

After a long wait, the Azkals were drawn in Group C with Kyrgyzstan, China and South Korea.

Meanwhile, Group C features Asian giants Korea and China together, while Group D has pitted Iran and Iraq together.

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 worldwide Zuhair Bakheet.

Held every four years, the Asian Cup will start on January 5 with matches to be held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.

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India will open their campaign against Thailand on January 6 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi and on January 10 India will take omn hosts UAE at the same venue.

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.

Defending champions Australia will renew their rivalry with Syria at the Asian Cup finals after being drawn alongside the Middle Eastern nation on Friday for next year's tournament.

The prize money is just a host of enhancements introduced to strengthen the stature of Asia's most prestigious competition.

"I was part of the national team in 2011 in Doha last time when we played in the Continental Championship". In the past (2011), we had managed a draw (2-2) against UAE. Additionally, the new trophy for the competition was presented.

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".

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