Jakarta : The top three teams in the current Asian Cup will receive automatic berths to the 2011 finals, along with the host country, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced Tuesday.
The winners of the AFC Challenge Cup competitions in 2008 and 2010 will also qualify for the 2011 tournament automatically, according to the AFC statement.
Should the same team win both in 2008 and 2010, the runners-up from AFC Challenge Cup 2010 shall qualify along with the champions, it added.
The decision makes the third place playoff of the 2007 Asian Cup an important match for the teams involved.
The host for the 2011 Asian Cup is expected to be announced Sunday at the AFC Executive Committee media conference.