The team coached by Stephen Constantine topped their group consisting of the Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar and Macau in the third playoff qualification round to earn an entry into the draw from Pot 3. Being the hosts, UAE were automatically drawn into Group A. Thailand and Bahrain were drawn from Pot 2 and 4 respectively.
UAE and Bahrain will meet in the opening game of the tournament on January 5, 2019. India will take on Thailand on the very next day at the Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi .
In their second group game, India will lock horns against hosts UAE at the Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi on January 10. In their final group clash, they face old foes Bahrain at the Sharjah Stadium on January 14.
India and Bahrain had come up against each other in the 2011 edition of the competition on the exact same date as well. India succumbed to a 2-5 defeat to crash out of the group stage seven years ago.
United Arab Emirates are ranked 81 and are the only team with a better FIFA Ranking than India in Group A. Thailand are placed 122 and Bahrain occupy the 116th spot.
Defending champions Australia have drawn Syria, Palestine and Jordan in a fiesty Group B.
Japan, one of the 2018 FIFA World Cup participants from Asia, will meet Uzbekistan, Oman and Turkmenistan in Group F.