The Qantas Socceroos have been drawn with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand in Group B of the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The draw for the confederation qualifiers took place today at the Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at an event hosted by FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke along with Brazilian football legends Cafu, Neymar, Zico, Lucas, Bebeto, Felipe Bastos, Mario Zagallo, Lucas Piazon, Ronaldo and Ganso.
Qantas Socceroos Head Coach Holger Osieck, who is currently in Manizales to watch the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011, is looking forward to the start of the campaign.
“Now we are aware of which teams we will be playing in qualification,” said Osieck shortly after the draw was announced.
“Our first step is to collect all necessary information about our opponents so we are fully prepared for the matches.
“We will start our preparations when we get the team together in Wales for our friendly match and then it’s just a short time before our first match against Thailand,” concluded Osieck.
The Qantas Socceroos are scheduled to play their first match of the third round at home against Thailand on Friday 2 September 2011 and then Saudi Arabia away on Tuesday 6 September 2011.
Match day three in October sees the Qantas Socceroos host Oman. In November the Qantas Socceroos will play two away games against Oman & Thailand on 11 November and 15 November respectively.
The Qantas Socceroos final match of the third round of Asian Qualifiers will be against Saudi Arabia at home on Wednesday 29 February 2012.
All venues and kick-off times are expected to be confirmed by the AFC by the end of August 2011.
After playing in the home-and-away format of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Third Round of Asian Qualifiers, the winners and runners-up from each group will advance to the fourth round of Asian Qualifiers.
The ten teams in the fourth round will be divided into two groups of five and the top two teams from each group will qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This round will also have a home-and-away format.
Third-best teams from Round 4 will play home-and-away in Round 5 and the winner will qualify for a Round 6 playoff against a team from the CONMEBOL (South American) confederation to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Third Round – Groups
Group A: China PR, Jordan, Iraq, Singapore
Group B: Korea Republic Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon
Group C: Japan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Korea DPR
Group D: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Thailand
Group E: Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia