MANILA, Philippines -- The qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup in 2023 have been rescheduled to 2021, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced Wednesday.
This, in light of the current COVID-19 global health crisis.
The first two rounds of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup -- which will be held in China -- also serves as qualifiers to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The qualifying matches were initially scheduled for the international match windows in October and November 2020.
"With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, FIFA and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches," the organizations said in a statement.
"Further details on the new dates for the next round of qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be announced in due course."
The Philippine Azkals are in Group A of the Asian Cup qualifiers. They currently have seven points after five matches, with two wins, two losses, and a draw.
They opened their campaign with a 5-2 loss to Syria last September 5 in Bacolod, before routing Guam, 4-1, on the road.
In October, the Azkals secured a goalless draw with China at the Panaad Stadium, then scored a 2-1 win against Maldives in November. In their last match on November 19, they bowed to Syria anew, 1-0.
The Philippines qualified to the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2019.
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