Non-friends Saudi Arabia and Qatar draw same Asian Cup group

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The War Elephants' quest to reach the knockout round of Asia's premier global competition - which kicks off on January 5, 2019 - will see them face off against UAE, India and Bahrain.

The coach of the host nation of the 2019 edition of the Asian Cup cut a confident figure while sounding cautious about their group opponents.

The top 24 teams from all over Asia, including hosts UAE were drawn into six groups of four teams each.

This is India's fourth qualification to the AFC Asian Cup, the last one being in Doha in 2011.

The tournament will kick off on January 5 with the final to be played in Abu Dhabi on February 1.

Four-time champions Japan take on Uzbekistan, Oman and Turkmenistan in Goup F while China's hopes of a first-ever Asian Cup title will hinge on advancing from Group C, which also features South Korea, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines.

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This is for the first time that an Indian footballer was asked to be associated with the draw ceremony for the Asian championship. The last time was in 2011 when they found themselves in the same group as Australia, South Korea and Bahrain and lost all three games, conceding 13 goals.

Football fans around the globe will witness a stunning new trophy lifted by the champions of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the iconic Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Feb.1, 2019.

UAE are ranked the highest in the group - 81.

"Since 1956 we have had the same trophy and in keeping with the new and exciting future of the competition, the AFC chose to commission a new trophy, one that captures the excitement and drama of the tournament ahead", said Sheikh Salman.

"All these teams will give us different kinds of problems and we have to be prepared before facing them in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019", he added.

The top two pots consist of teams who has progressed to the final round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup for AFC countries.