The pandemic-delayed schedule of Asian qualifying matches for the Fifa World Cup 2022 was set Wednesday by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). No qualifiers have been played yet this year because of the coronavirus outbreak. The AFC said the remaining games will be played in March and June on dates protected by Fifa for national teams to call up players from their clubs. Covid-19 forces AFC to call off World Cup Qualifiers for rest of 2020 A subsequent group stage – of two six-team groups – is scheduled from September 2021 to March 2022. That will use new slots created by Fifa from January 24 to February 1, 2022, to help national teams outside Europe clear their backlog of games. Four Asian teams will qualify directly from those groups to the final tournament in Qatar. Two more will advance to an elimination game that will decide Asia’s entry in the intercontinental play-off round. Fifa previously extended the World Cup qualifying programme into the May-June 2022 international dates to make space for the intercontinental play-offs. One team enters from each of Asia, the North American region, Oceania and South America to decide the last two places in the 32-team World Cup line-up. One Asian qualifying game is scheduled to be played in 2020. Qatar’s football federation said on Wednesday it will host Bangladesh on December 4. Hosting the Asian Cup will boost China’s global standing, says CFA’s Du Zhaocai Although Qatar gets automatic entry to the 2022 World Cup as host, the current group stage also counts toward qualifying for the 2023 Asian Cup in China . Qatar are the defending champions and lead their qualifying group with three matches to go.