2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying format approved (19 July 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR: The AFC Competitions Committee has decided to use the present qualification format for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The top five teams from the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be given direct entry into the third round while the remaining 38 teams will play home and away in the opening round.
The 11 highest-ranked teams from the second round will be given direct entry into the third round while the lowest eight teams will qualify for Round 2.
After playing home-and-away in the second round, four winners will join the top five teams and 11 qualifiers in the third round where they will be divided into five groups of four teams each.
The winners and runners of each group will qualify for the final round where the 10 teams will be divided into two groups of five teams each.
The group winners and runners-up will make it to the 2014 FIFA World Cup while the third-placed team in each group will play home-and-away for the fifth place.