Thailand, India, Hong Kong seal AFC Asian Cup 2023 berths ahead of final qualifiers

A six-point haul from their opening two matches in the third round of qualifiers has proven enough for Thailand to qualify for AFC Asian Cup 2023 with a game to spare. Football Association of Thailand

Thailand, India and Hong Kong are among six teams that have progressed to AFC Asian Cup 2023 on Tuesday even before taking to the field for their final qualifiers.

The trio, along with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, all have six points to their names from their opening two matches in the third round of Asian Cup qualifiers.

Only the winners of the six groups are guaranteed a place at the Asian Cup along with the five best runners-up, meaning only one second-placed team will miss out.

And after Palestine secured their place at the tournament as Group B winners with a 4-0 victory over Philippines in Tuesday's early kickoff, it means that any team with a six-point haul already to their names will be marching on even as one of the best-placed runners-up.

This is due to the fact that the second-placed team in Group B -- whether it be Philippines or Yemen -- will now only achieve a maximum of four points.

Having made history at the last Asian Cup by making their tournament debut, Philippines will now face a nervy wait to see if they will be qualifying once again from what has been a disappointing campaign.

Although it was hardly the easiest group they could have found themselves in, the Azkals will feel they could have taken maximum points in their opening 0-0 draw with Yemen, while they were also fortunate to beat minnows Mongolia 1-0 courtesy of a 93rd-minute winner from debutant Gerrit Holtmann on Saturday.

The other two teams presently occupying the runners-up spots in their respective groups are Indonesia and Malaysia, with both having what look to be very winnable ties against Nepal and Bangladesh respectively later on Tuesday evening.