The UAE is set to compete against Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and North Korea in Group A during the third round of Asia's 2026 World Cup qualifiers. The qualifiers kick off on September 5 and conclude on June 10, with 18 Asian teams competing for eight World Cup berths. These teams are split into three groups of six. The top two teams from each group will secure automatic qualification for the finals in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The third and fourth-placed teams will move to a fourth round where six teams will battle for the last two direct spots. The UAE, aiming to return to the World Cup after their debut in 1990, dominated Group H in the second round, earning 16 points from six games. They will face Iran in their opening match of the third round on September 10. Iran, looking to make their fourth consecutive and seventh overall World Cup appearance, will confront a Qatar team seeking their first qualification through the qualifiers, despite hosting the 2022 edition. Japan, four-time Asian champions, will face Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China, and Indonesia in the third round. South Korea will compete against Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, and Kuwait in Group B. Japan, having qualified for the last seven World Cups, previously faced both Saudi Arabia and Australia in the 2022 qualifiers, where they and Saudi Arabia advanced directly, and Australia qualified through a playoff. China faces a tough path to their first World Cup since 2002, while South Korea, favorites in Group B, will face a challenging Jordan team that previously beat them in the Asian Cup semifinals.