‘It’s a good draw’: Socceroos content with Cup outcome
With Socceroo legend Tim Cahill's fingers not his feet working their magic in Kuala Lumpur, Australia have been drawn Nepal, Jordan, Taiwan and Kuwait in the second Asian qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which also serves as first qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup.
The Socceroos are gunning for a fifth-straight World Cup appearance and head one of eight groups made up of 40 nations in the Asian confederation.
The groups will play home and away fixtures from September 2019 to June 2020 with the group winners and four best runners-up advancing to the final stage of qualifying.
"We are happy with our draw," Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said.
"My first game in charge was in Kuwait City, and we won 4-0, so we have been there and experienced Kuwait as a group.
"There are two teams that we have drawn (Kuwait and Jordan) that we have experience against and two teams that we are not as familiar with. But we will do our due diligence and ensure that we take every game as it comes and respect each match.
"We have worked with 80 players across the Socceroos and Olyroos over the past year, so I believe with the depth that we have we are well positioned to deal with the qualifiers."
2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers
- Group A
- China, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam.
- Group B
- Australia, Jordan, Taiwan, Kuwait, Nepal.
- Group C
- Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia.
- Group D
- Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore.
- Group E
- Qatar, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh.
- Group F
- Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia.
- Group G
- United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia.
- Group H
- South Korea, Lebanon, North Korea, Turkmenistan,Sri Lanka
Australia begin their campaign against Kuwait away on September 10.
South Korea and North Korea have been drawn together but political tension has recently softened between the two with the teams marching together at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and fielding a combined side in women's ice hockey.
In other politically sensitive matchups, Iran has been grouped with Iraq, and Saudi Arabia with Yemen.
I’m super disappointed to see all those SE asian rivals who have played each other so many times in the same group. Would have loved to see one of them on Australian shores. Not much excitement looking at @Socceroos group either. Bit of a dull draw https://t.co/grqhhBSspE— Rob Cornthwaite (@robcornthwaite) July 17, 2019