Kuala Lumpur: The 13 teams set to participate at the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Malaysia 2017 learned their opponents on Tuesday when the tournament’s official draw took place in the Malaysian capital.
Reigning champions Oman were drawn in Group B and will begin the defence of their title against Lebanon, Uzbekistan, and Thailand.
Japan, runners-up to Oman in 2015, are looking to claim a third title following their wins in 2009 and 2011, and have been draw in Group C alongside 2007 and 2008 champions United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq and Qatar.
Meanwhile, 2013 champions, Islamic Republic of Iran will meet Bahrain, China PR, Malaysia and Afghanistan in Group A.
AFC Beach Soccer Championship Malaysia 2017 Groups
Group A: IR Iran, Bahrain, China PR, Malaysia, Afghanistan
Group B: Oman, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Thailand
Group C: Japan, UAE, Iraq, Qatar
The group winners and the best second-placed team from the three groups will qualify for the semi-finals, the winners of which will advance to the final.
1400 (local time) China PR v Bahrain
1630 (local time) Afghanistan v Malaysia
The top three teams will fly the Asian flag at the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas which is scheduled to begin on April 27.