Nepal's probable opponents in the FIFA World Cup 2026 & AFC Asian Cup 2027 joint qualifications | AFC round 1 Draw Date & time

The Nepali National Men's Football Team, after being eliminated from the group stage of the SAFF Championship, is preparing for the 2023 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers to be held from this October.

Nepal had previously played from the second round of the 2022 Qatar World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers. But this time they need to play in the first round due to the drop in their ranking.

Here in this article we will discuss about the all the possible opponents that Nepal can meet in the first round of World Cup and Asian Cup joint qualifiers.

Nepal placed in the pot 1 for the the first round draw

The draw for the first round of the World Cup and Asian Cup joint qualifiers has been decided. Nepal has been placed in the pot 1. On the basis of the same pots, one of the opponents that Nepal will meet will be decided. The official draw for the combined preliminary selection stage of round 1 and 2 will be held on July 27 at FC House in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

Who could be the Nepal's opponent in the 2026 WC Qualifiers? 

The countries shown in the picture below are the 18 lowest ranked teams in Asia. Among the 18, the strongest 9 have been placed in Pot 1 and the weakest in Pot 2. Now when drawing, a team from Pot 1 will meet any one team in Pot 2. Remember that none of the teams in pot 1 will play against each other.

Here are the countries in Pot 1:  

  • Indonesia
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Maldives
  • Yemen
  • Afghanistan
  • Singapore
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Cambodia
Here are the countries in Pot 2:
  • Macau
  • Magolia
  • Bhutan
  • Laos
  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei
  • Timor Leste
  • Pakistan
  • Guam

*Note: Northern Mariana Islands will not participate as not being a FIFA member. Meanwhile Sri Lanka has been ruled out of the qualification round due to the FIFA ban.

Nepal to face the weaker teams

Nepal, which being the 8th strongest nation among the 18 weak Asian nations, will meet a weaker team than itself from the pot 2 in the 1st round. The first round includes a two matches series based on home and away. The aggregate results, will decide who to enter the second round.

Now let's have a special discussion about all the teams except from SAFF in the second round of the draw, one of which Nepal is meeting.

1. Macau: 182nd ranked Macau is one of the members of East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) that includes the Asia's top ranked teams like Japan & Korea ( South & North). They played only two FIFA friendlies in the year 2023 and lost both of them.

2023 June 19 : Macau 0-2 Myanmar

2023 March 26 : Macau 0-1 Singapore 

2.Mongolia: 183rd ranked Mongolia is also one of the members of East Asian Football Federation (EAFF). Mongolia had already played 4 FIFA friendlies in the year 2023. They even played Hero Intercontinetal Cup recently in India.

2023 March 25 : Georgia 6-1 Mongolia 

2023  June 9 : India 2-0 Mongolia

2023  June 12 : Mongolia 0-0 Lebanon

2023 June 15: Mongolia 0-1 Vanuatu

3.Laos: 188th ranked Laos is one of the members of  ASEAN Football Federation AFF which includes the countries like Australia, Vietnam & Thailand. Laos recently played three nations cup in Nepal on March.

2023 March 23 : Laos 0-2 Nepal

2023 March 25 : Laos 2-1 Bhutan

2023 March 31 : Laos 1-2 Nepal

4.Brunei: 191st ranked Brunei is also one of the member of ASEAN Football Federation AFF.

Since 2022 Brunei haven't played in any international matches and competitions. It was back in the end of 2022 December they participated in AFF Championship.

20222 December 20 : Thailand 5-0 Brunei

2022 23 December 23 : Philippines 5-1 Brunei

2022 December 26 : Indonesia 7-0 Brunei

2022 December 29 : Cambodia 5-1 Brunei

5.Timor Leste:195th ranked East Timor commonly known as Timor Leste is also one of the member of ASEAN Football Federation AFF. They haven't played any international friendlies since 2022 November after AFF Championship qualification round. The were even expelled from the last time competition after an investigation found that officials of the East Timor soccer federation, the Football Federation Timor-Leste, had falsified birth and baptism certificates to register at least a dozen Brazilians as East Timor players in recent years.

2022 November 5 : Timor Leste 6-2 Brunei 

2022 November 8 : Timor Leste 1-0 Brunei

6.Guam; 206th ranked Guam is also one of the members of East Asian Football Federation (EAFF). Guam have't played any friendly matches since February 2022.

2022 February 19 : Guam 2-0 Northern Mariana Islands

2022 February 22 : Guam 3-2 Northern Mariana Islands

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