India are pitted in Group A at the AFC Asian Cup 2019 alongside hosts UAE, Bahrain and South-East Asian giants Thailand.
The draw for the 24-team event was made in Dubai on Friday with top-seeded Australia facing Syria and Jordan, who they met en route to qualification for the World Cup in Russian Federation, and Palestine in Group B.
Former champions Iran and Iraq have been slotted in Group D along with Vietnam and Yemen, while feuding neighbours Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been drawn in Group E with North Korea and Lebanon for company.
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.
Indian football fans were overjoyed after the draw as they are now hopeful that Chhetri and Co. can put up a good show in the tournament.
The tournament, which kicks off on January 5th 2019, will see UAE take on Bahrain, Thailand and India in Group A. The Italian manager felt that while it was a huge honour to host a tournament of this magnitude, the games would be tough for his team.
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The prize money is just a host of enhancements introduced to strengthen the stature of Asia's most prestigious competition.
"I was part of the National Team in 2011 in Doha where we last played in the Continental Championship".
By the virtue of being the hosts, UAE were drawn in Group A by default. Additionally, the new trophy for the competition was presented.
The Asian minnows were winless in the group stage of 2011 Asian Cup.
Continent powerhouses and 2015 finalists Korea Republic, who are on the hunt for their first title since 1960, were drawn in Group C with two-time runners-up China PR as well as two debutants in the UAE 2019 - Kyrgyz Republic and Philippines.