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Cambodia face Macau in WC 2018 qualifiers

Cambodia will play Macau next month in the preliminary qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia after the draw was made by Asia Football Confederation in Kuala Lumpur this week.

The draw was made for the 12 lowest-ranked teams in the AFC rankings, with those ranked 35 to 40 put in pot A and the teams ranked from 41 to 46 in pot B.

The teams in pot A were Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Taiwan, and Timor Leste, while Nepal, Macau, Pakistan, Mongolia, Brunei and Bhutan were all in pot B.

Cambodia, ranked 179th by FIFA, will face Macau, 186th, in the preliminary round of qualifying on March 12.

The games see the AFC becoming the first governing body to begin qualifying for the global football extravaganza.

Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup will see the 12 lowest teams in Asia meet in a home and away format on March 12-17, with the six winners from the first qualifying round progressing to the second round where the 36 highest ranked teams in Asia await.

The 40 nations will be drawn into eight groups of five teams and compete in a double round robin format.

The Round 2 qualification matches will be held from June 11, 2015 to March 29, 2016.

The group winners and four best runners-up (a total of 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The next 24 best teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining places in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup finals.

In the first round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, Cambodia played Laos, beating their neighbours 4-2 at home when striker Sam El Nasa netted a brace with current forward Khoun Laboravy also scoring.

The Kingdom went on to lose the return leg 6-2.

When Cambodia last played Macau, in the AFC Challenge Cup Playoff round on February 9, 2011, Cambodia won 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium, with Laboravy scoring (pictured, Sreng Meng Srun).
Although Cambodia lost the away leg 3-2, they progressed with a 5-4 aggregate victory. Translated by In Sopheng

Preliminary round draw

India v Nepal
Yemen v Pakistan
Timor-Leste v Mongolia
Cambodia v Macau
Chinese Taipei v Brunei
Sri Lanka v Bhutan

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