Socceroos World Cup Qualifying Draw Announced
Australia have been drawn in Group B, along with Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh, in a draw that will see each country play each other twice, both at home and away.
The double round-robin format means the 2015 Asian Cup Champions will travel huge distances for their away matches, with the nearest opponent, Bangladesh, being over 7,000 kilometres away.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said the draw would present an “interesting challenge” for the Socceroos as they begin the campaign to play in Russia in 2016.
“Obviously, Jordan we’ve played before and we know well, but the other three countries will be a challenge on many fronts for us, logistically as much as as anything else,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
Although the Socceroos have managed to avoid playing heavyweights Japan, South Korea and Iran for now, they are likely to meet eventually, with the winners of the eight Asian groups as well as the best four runners-up to advance to Round Three of the qualifying stages.
FIFA have not confirmed how many places there will be for Asian teams in 2018, however it is expected to be 4.5, as it was in Brazil 2014.
The Socceroos have a bye in the first round on June 11, and will open their tilt on June 16 in an away game against Kyrgyzstan. The World Cup qualification rounds will also count as qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup.
Socceroos World Cup 2018 Qualification Draw, Round 2 (Group B):
11 June 2015 BYE
16 June 2015 Kyrgyzstan v Socceroos (away– venue and time tbc)
3 September 2015 Socceroos v Bangladesh at nib Stadium, Perth. 7pm (AWT) kick off
8 September 2015 Tajikstan v Socceroos (away– venue and time tbc)
8 October 2015 Jordan v Socceroos (away– venue and time tbc)
13 October 2015 BYE
12 November 2015 Socceroos v Kyrgyzstan (home– venue and time tbc)
17 November 2015 Bangladesh v Socceroos (away– venue and time tbc)
24 March 2016 Socceroos v Tajikstan (home– venue and time tbc)
29 March 2016 Socceroos v Jordan (home– venue and time tbc)