Socceroos to face Japan in tricky World Cup qualifying group

Australia will play Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Thailand in the final AFC qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, after the draw at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night.

Socceroos


The Socceroos progressed from their initial phase of qualifying by topping their group, which consisted of Jordan, Tajikistan, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.

Advertisement
However, this will be a much tougher test for coach Ange Postecoglou's men.

Postecoglou, who attended the draw in Kuala Lumpur, said his side is ready for the challenges ahead in their final round of qualifying for Russia 2018.

"It’s good to know the draw so we have a clear picture of what is in front of us from a football and logistics perspective to qualify for the World Cup," Postecoglou said.

"Over the last two years we have built up a very strong portfolio of information on most Asian nations and its players by having scouts at matches and tournaments all over Asia so the players go into every match well prepared. That information will be sharpened and expanded now we know that we face Japan, Iraq, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. 

"As Champions of Asia we will show due respect to all countries but focussed on continuing our journey that has aspirations greater than simply qualifying for the World Cup."

2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers final round Group B
AUSTRALIA 
Japan
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Iraq
Thailand

2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers final round Group A
Iran
Korea Republic
Uzbekistan
China PR
Qatar
Syria

The seedings for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers final round draw
Pot 1: Iran (42nd), AUSTRALIA (50th)
Pot 2: Korea Republic (56th), Japan (57th)
Pot 3: Saudi Arabia (60th), Uzbekistan (66th)
Pot 4: United Arab Emirates (68th), China PR (81st)
Pot 5: Qatar (83rd), Iraq (105th)
Pot 6: Syria (110th), Thailand (119th)

The six teams in each group will play home-and-away under the round-robin format.

The Socceroos' 2018 FIFA World Cup final round qualifying matchdays are:

MD 1: 1 September 2016 - AUSTRALIA v Iraq
MD 2: 6 September 2016 - United Arab Emirates v AUSTRALIA
MD 3: 6 October 2016 - Saudi Arabia v AUSTRALIA
MD 4: 11 October 2016 - AUSTRALIA v Japan
MD 5: 15 November 2016 - Thailand v AUSTRALIA
MD 6: 23 March 2017 - Iraq v AUSTRALIA
MD 7: 28 March 2017 - AUSTRALIA v United Arab Emirates
MD 8: 8 June 2017 - AUSTRALIA v Saudi Arabia
MD 9: 31 August 2017 - Japan v AUSTRALIA
MD 10: 5 September 2017 - AUSTRALIA v Thailand

The winner and runner-up of each group (four teams in total) will qualify for the Russia 2018, while the third-placed teams of each group will advance to the Asian play-off.

The winner of the Asian play-off will face the side that finishes fourth in the fifth round of the CONCACAF qualifiers in a two-leg inter-confederation playoff.


Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 12 April 2016 at 5:47pm
By Patrick Nugent
Source: FFA, SBS