MUSCAT: The International Federation of Football Associations (Fifa) announced the Oman national football team is in the first level of the Asian continent on Thursday. This classification came as part of the draw for the second round of the double Asian qualifiers, which lead to the prestigious 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup finals.
The Fifa classification was based on the impressive performance of the Oman national team during the Central Asian Federation Championship in Uzbekistan last June. Under the guidance of Croatian coach, Branko Ivankovic, the team showcased exceptional talent , securing a third-place finish.
According to Fifa's regulations, the Omani team faced some challenges in the tournament, losing 4 points in their initial match against Uzbekistan 0-3 and drawing the second match against Tajikistan 1-1. However, they quickly bounced back, earning 3 points by triumphing over Turkmenistan 2-0 in their third match. To further solidify their position, the team added another 3 points by securing victory against Kyrgyzstan in the match for third place.
The Asian Football federation has set the date for the draw of the first and second stages of the double qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Nations as July 27.
This classification marks a historic achievement for the Oman national team. Placing them among the elite teams in the first level for the first time alongside Japan, Iran, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, and the Emirates. It is worth noting that this milestone represents their tenth consecutive participation in the qualifiers since the 1990 in Italy World Cup qualifiers.
The classification has also determined the second and third levels of the qualifiers. The second level includes formidable teams such as Uzbekistan, China, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Vietnam, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, and India. Meanwhile, the third level consists of Lebanon, Tajikistan, Thailand, North Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Kuwait, Turkmenistan, and Hong Kong. While the fourth level will include the 18 lowest-ranked teams in the Asian continent.
With this achievement, the Oman national team is geared up for a competitive journey towards the second round of the double Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup finals.