The Maldives has been included in the World Cup qualifying stage in the Asian zone for the 2018 World Cup finals to be held in Russia.
The country was included in qualifying as one of the top 34 Asian national teams, reported Vaguthu, with Afghanistan and Bangladesh the only other South Asian countries to appear in the qualifying round.
The Maldives is currently ranked 131st in the FIFA world rankings. The highest ever ranking attained by the country was in 2006 at 126, while lowest was 183, in 1997.
The qualifying matches – which are to be played as home and away fixtures – are due to start on June 11, while the group draw is to be decided in April.
The top team in each group will qualify for the third round in the World Cup qualifications, while also automatically qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup – the biggest footballing event in Asia.