The draw of the joint pre-qualifiers of FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 was made in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Coached by Paulo Bento, South Korea are the top-ranked team in the group at No. 37, followed by Lebanon (86th), North Korea (122nd), Turkmenistan (135th) and Sri Lanka (201st).
Four Asian teams will qualify directly for the World Cup.
Once the draws are announced, all teams will compete in a double round-robin format - home and away - which will take place from September 5, 2019, to June 9, 2020. For the 2018 World Cup qualifying program, Yemen played home games in Doha, Qatar, for security reasons.
India can beat the likes of Afghanistan and Bangladesh and will hope to play their best against Oman, as well as World Cup hosts Qatar, if they have to advance to the final round of the qualifiers.
The draw, conducted by FIFA Director of Competitions Christian Unger and Australian legend Tim Cahill, saw Asia's top ranked team Iran pooled in Group C alongside Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Cambodia.
India face an uphill task to qualify from the group with only the top two teams progressing from their group to the main round and also sealing AFC Asian Cup qualification in the process.
They were in the same group in back-to-back qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup. A fifth nation can advance to Qatar in an intercontinental playoff round in March 2022. Qatar need not have entered qualification, but have done that to confirm their place in the 2023 Asian Cup.
Saudi Arabia will face Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen and Singapore in Group D while Australia will go up against Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait and Nepal in Group B. China, the host country for the AFC Asian Cup 2023, will have to navigate past Syria, Philippines, Maldives and Guam in Group A in their bid for a second appearance in the FIFA World Cup Finals.
"We are going to play two games against North Korea in the same way that we are going to play two games against the rest of the teams in the group and try to win all the games that we are going to play, respecting all the teams in the way that we have until now".
Sporting ties played a role in a diplomatic thaw on and around the peninsula previous year, when the two Koreas formed their first-ever unified Olympic team for the 2018 Winter Games.
South Korea have played at every World Cup since 1986, a stretch of nine tournaments.
Qatar is spending tens of billions of dollars preparing stadiums and infrastructure despite an ongoing political and economic boycott by neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
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