With the focus of world football firmly set on Qatar, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has sent his best wishes to Asia’s teams and match officials ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
In another clear sign of Asia’s remarkable progress, a record six teams from the Continent as well as the largest ever ensemble of 19 AFC match officials will be looking to stand proud amongst the world’s best at the global showpiece from November 20 to December 18.
Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to extend the best wishes of the entire Continent to Australia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, hosts Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as our world class match officials.
“The AFC’s Vision and Mission underlined our ambitions to ensure Asian teams and match officials are provided with the best possible conditions to thrive on the biggest stages and we are confident that our Continent’s representatives will be inspired to produce a performance of a lifetime.”
The AFC President also laid emphasis on his belief in the role of the FIFA World Cup to further strengthen the foundations for the beautiful game to flourish in Asia in the decades to come.
“The first-ever FIFA World Cup held on Asian soil in the Korea Republic and Japan in 2002 was a turning point in our history. There can be no denying that it served as the catalyst in charting the continued growth and professionalism of the Asian game and bringing our ambitions to life,” added Shaikh Salman.
“Now two decades on, we turn the page on a new and exciting chapter in our breakthrough journey and we are determined to ensure that Qatar enjoys the same unparalleled success and leaves behind the same transformational legacy as Korea Republic and Japan in 2002.
“We look forward to the Qatar Football Association, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the Qatari Authorities as well as FIFA delivering a global showpiece like no other in history, and the Asian football family joins me in wishing them the very best of success.
“I know Asia is ready, I know the Middle East is ready, and I know that Qatar will put on an unforgettable show for the world.”
Host nation Qatar will kick off the Continent’s march when they take on Group A opponents Ecuador on November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium at 7pm (local time) before the Islamic Republic of Iran begin their Group B campaign against England the next day at the Khalifa International Stadium at 4pm.
Saudi Arabia will be the next Asian side to feature on Tuesday as the Green Falcons prepare to battle Argentina in Group C at the Lusail Stadium at 1pm before the Socceroos face off against defending champions France in Group D at the Al Janoub Stadium at 10pm.
Meanwhile, Japan, who will be aiming to better their Round of 16 showing in Russia four years ago, will begin their Qatar 2022 journey against Group E rivals Germany on Wednesday at the Khalifa International Stadium at 4pm.
Finally, Korea Republic, who have been drawn in Group H, will square off against Uruguay on Thursday at the Education City Stadium at 4pm.
Follow all the riveting action from the Continent’s best at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 here