Annabi in the fiery group in the World Cup qualifiers

Written By Mark

The draw for the Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, which took place yesterday in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, placed our national team, the 2023 Asian champion, in the strong first group that included the teams of Iran, Uzbekistan, Iran and Kyrgyzstan. On the other hand, the second group included the Republic of Korea team facing five teams from West Asia, namely Iraq, Jordan, runner-up in the 2023 Asian Cup, Oman, Palestine, and Kuwait. The third group was very strong, after it included the teams of Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China and Indonesia.
The Asian qualifiers – the road to the 2026 World Cup – will begin with the first round being held on September 5 of this year, with the last round being held on June 10, 2025.

Al-Annabi will start its journey by meeting the Emirates in Doha on September 5, and will conclude it with a strong confrontation with Uzbekistan on June 10, 2025.
The Annabi group came out strong with the presence of the Iranian and Uzbekistan teams, in addition to the UAE, which is not underestimated, and Kyrgyzstan, which qualified after a strong and fierce competition with the Omani team in the previous stage of the qualifiers, and the North Korean team, which surpassed the Syrian team in the second stage of the qualifiers.
Despite the difficulty of the mission and the group, Al-Annabi will have a very good chance to compete for first and second place and qualify directly, God willing, for the 2026 World Cup.
The Iranian and Uzbek teams are considered the most dangerous competitors of our team for direct qualification to the World Cup, and therefore our team achieving the best results with them in Tehran and Tashkent, and beating them, God willing, in Doha, will be the key to qualifying, while not neglecting the importance of other teams and striving to win over them as well.
It must be noted that 4 teams from the Annabi group have previously qualified for the World Cup: Iran (6 times), North Korea (twice), Qatar and the Emirates (once).

The beginning in Doha and the end in Tashkent
Al-Anabi will begin its qualifying campaign by meeting the UAE in Doha on September 5, followed directly by facing North Korea in Pyongyang on September 10 in the first round.
In the second round, Al-Annabi will meet Kyrgyzstan in Doha, then Iran in Tehran on October 10 and 15. In the third round, Qatar will host Uzbekistan in Doha, then face the UAE in Abu Dhabi on November 14 and 19.
In the fourth round, Al-Anabi will meet North Korea in Doha, and Kyrgyzstan in Kyrgyzstan on March 20 and 25, 2025.
In the fifth round, which is the strongest, most dangerous and most important, Al-Anabi faces his Iranian rivals in Doha and his Uzbek rivals in Tashkent on June 5 and 10.

Strong Arab-Arab competitions
As Al-Arab expected, the three groups will witness strong and fierce Arab-Arab competitions, with more than one Arab team in one group.
As the Arabs expected, one of the groups, the second, included more than one Arab team, namely Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, and Kuwait, while the first included Annabi and the Emirates, and the third included Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Two qualified from each group.
The third and fourth-placed teams from each group (six in total) qualify for the Asian play-off, which will be contested in two groups of three teams in a single round-robin format, with the top team in each group qualifying for the World Cup.
Team qualifies
The two teams that finish second in each of the two Asian play-off groups will face off in two home and away matches to determine the team that will qualify for the global play-off, which will determine the winner of the final ticket to the finals.

Tactical organization and team spirit are the weapon of Al-Annabi
FIFA confirmed that Al-Annabi had performed exceptionally well this year and achieved all set goals, led by Spanish coach Marquez Lopez.
FIFA said in a report on its official website: Al-Anabi succeeded in topping its group in the second round of the qualifiers with an unbeaten record, which reflects the effort exerted by the players and the technical staff. Al-Anabi also demonstrated its offensive and defensive strength in the 2023 Asian Cup, which won its title for the second time in a row.
The report added: The team’s tactical organization was a decisive factor in achieving these results, as Al-Annabi showed the ability to control matches and play with a team spirit.
The FIFA report explained that the high level presented by Al-Annabi most of the time makes it a strong candidate to repeat its previous successes and qualify again for the 2026 World Cup, but this time through the qualifiers and not as host of the tournament.

Annabi surpassed Uzbekistan and Iran in Asia 2023
Al-Annabi recently met two teams from its group in the World Cup qualifiers, namely Uzbekistan and Iran, during the teams’ journey in the 2023 Asian Cup in Doha last February.
Al-Annabi outperformed both teams in both matches, as it tied with Uzbekistan 1-1 in regular and extra time, and Al-Annabi won on penalty kicks.
In the semi-final, Al-Annabi defeated Iran 3-2 after being behind 1-2.

Cahill: The journey is difficult and we must prepare well
Tim Cahill, the technical director of our national team, said that we must always believe that there is a chance. Now we know who we will face, and we have to prepare and prepare logistically and ensure the mental and physical readiness of the squad.
He added after the draw was made: This is a different stage for us, and it will include traveling and visiting many countries. It will be difficult, but we must play. For his part, Iran national team coach Amir Ghalenoi said: If we look at the group, it is not easy. There is the Emirates and Qatar, but if We looked at our results in the previous round, which gives us confidence to qualify.”
“We were in the same group as Iran in the second round and we played against Qatar in the 2023 Asian Cup, so we know the main opponents. We know the rest of the teams as well, and we are ready because our goal will be to qualify for the World Cup for the first time,” said Sherzod Eghamberdiyev, Uzbekistan national team manager. “The task is tough and difficult because of the quality of the teams we will face. Logistically, things are not bad for us. This is important because sometimes our players are not used to travelling a lot, and we will not need to adapt much,” explained Paulo Bento, UAE national team coach.
Kyrgyzstan coach Maxim Lisitsyn expressed his hope that his appointment would have a positive impact on the team so that we could continue writing the history of football in Kyrgyzstan. At this stage, there are no easy opponents, and we will do our best as a team during the upcoming matches.