The Socceroos' path to the 2022 FIFA World Cup explained

The Socceroos' path to the 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in the crucial playoff rounds, with a match against the United Arab Emirates on June 7 now confirmed as the next step.

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After last week's 2-0 defeat to Japan and this morning's 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, the Socceroos finished third in Group B of Asian qualifying and will now meet the UAE in a do-or-die playoff match in June after they finished third in Group A.

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If they can triumph against the UAE, Graham Arnold's men will move on to face Peru, who finished fifth in the South American qualifying group for their final chance to reach the World Cup.

What happens now that the Socceroos have finished third in their group?

The hope of a World Cup berth is not all lost despite the Socceroos now being resigned to third place.

Australia will progress to the fourth round of AFC qualification - where they will contest an AFC one-legged play-off match against the UAE on June 7 in Doha to determine who will represent the confederation in the subsequent intercontinental play-off tie.


The UAE beat South Korea 1-0 in their final Asian qualifying match to consolidate their third-place finish in group A.

What are the intercontinental play-offs and who will the Socceroos face?

The intercontinental play-offs will decide the final two spots needed to complete the list of 32 nations competing at the World Cup.

Each of the CONCACAF (North and Central America), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania) and AFC (Asia) confederations will have a representative in the playoffs.

A draw held last December revealed the matchups for this phase, with the AFC to face CONMEBOL, leaving the OFC with CONCACAF.

Unlike previous World Cup qualifying campaigns, the 2022 format has moved away from two-legged ties and will instead feature a one-off match at a neutral venue in Doha in mid-June.




That means, if Australia reach this stage, they will face South America's fifth-placed team from qualifying, which will be Peru after they beat Paraguay 2-0 in the final round of CONMEBOL matches.

The unpredictability of the intercontinental play-offs makes for a sudden death situation for the Socceroos and they will need to be at their very best if they want to overcome the UAE and Peru to reach the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw will take place on April 2 in Doha - which you can WATCH LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS.


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Published 17 February 2022 at 1:39pm
Source: SBS