Three of the four Asian Cup semifinalists will be given byes to the 2011 finals, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Tuesday.
This year’s third-and-fourth-place match takes on added significance with the two losing semifinalists made to go head-to-head for automatic qualification.
South Korea, Japan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia all have a chance to book their places in the 2011 competition in Wednesday’s semifinals.
Three-times champions Japan face Saudi Arabia in Hanoi, and Iraq take on South Korea in Kuala Lumpur.
The AFC also announced byes for the winners of the AFC Challenge Cup competitions in 2008 and 2010, which, along with the host country, takes the number of automatic berths to six.
The AFC are due to announce the host country for the 2011 tournament on the eve of Sunday’s Asian Cup final in Jakarta.
Only Qatar have so far submitted a formal bid.