Meet the Socceroos' WC qualifier opponents

The draw has been made, so meet the five nations the Socceroos will play in the final round of AFC 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Socceroos' 2018 World Cup qualifying path unveiled

Name: Japan
Current world ranking: 57
Watch for: Shinji Kagawa
Coach: Vahid Halihodzic
Qualifiers so far: Undefeated and winners of Group E.
Along with Korea Republic, the Samurai Blue are the Caltex Socceroos’ biggest rivals in Asia, with the two nations involved in some epic battles in big tournaments. Japan know what it takes to get to a FIFA World Cup and will prove very tough as always when they face Postecoglou’s troops.

Japan celebrate Shinji Kagawa scoring their second goal against Jordan.

Name: Saudi Arabia
Current world ranking: 60
Watch for: Mohammed Al-Sahlawi
Coach: Bert Van Marwijk
Qualifiers so far: Won Group A in dominant fashion, unbeaten in their eight matches and scoring 28 goals.
The Saudis have improved markedly of late, thriving under the structure and discipline of their Dutch coach and will be a tricky opponent, especially away from home. The Socceroos have played the Saudis six times in the past, losing just once, with the most recent meeting a 3-2 win to Australia in London in 2014 with goals to Cahill, Jedinak and Bailey Wright.

Mohammed Al-Sahlawi

Name: United Arab Emirates
Current world ranking: 68
Watch for: Omar Abdulrahman
Coach: Mahdi Ali
Qualifiers so far: Finished as one of the best second-placed nations, three points behind Saudi Arabia in a tricky Group A.
With Abdulrahman pulling the strings, UAE is one of the most exciting and vibrant teams in Asia right now and are young a team on the rise. Have recent history against the Socceroos as well, with Ange Postecoglou prevailing 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Asian Cup last year.

UAE's Ismail Ahmed celebrates converting the winning penalty against Japan with teammates.

Name: Iraq
Current world ranking: 105
Watch for: Ali Adnan
Coach: Abdul Ghani Shahad
Qualifiers so far: Did just enough to finish as one of the best second-placed sides, behind Thailand in Group F thanks to a final game win over Vietnam.
The 2007 Asian champions can never be underestimated and thrive when written off. Were in the Caltex Socceroos’ group in 2014 and proved a difficult opponent, with Josh Kennedy’s late goal in Sydney handing the Aussies a late 1-0 win – and a ticket to Brazil.

Iraq have booked an Asian Cup semi-final against Korea Republic

Name: Thailand
Current world ranking: 119
Watch for: Teerasil Dangda
Coach: Kiatisuk Senamuang
Qualifiers so far: Shocked many by topping Group F, ahead of 2015 Asian Cup semi-finalists Iraq.
The War Elephants have been a real surprise packet in qualifying so far, playing some excellent football and showing they aren’t afraid to take the game to their opposition.  As well as being the closest trip geographically, the Socceroos have won all four previous clashes against Thailand, including in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Thailand pose for a team photo prior to a 2014 Asian Cup Qualifier against Lebanon.

Socceroos 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers:

Match Day 1 - HOME - Thursday, 01 Sep 16 - Australia v Iraq

Match Day 2 - AWAY - Tuesday, 06 Sep 16 - UAE v Australia

Match Day 3 - AWAY - Thursday, 06 Oct 16 - Saudia Arabia v Australia

Match Day 4 - HOME - Tuesday, 11 Oct 16 - Australia v Japan

Match Day 5 - AWAY - Tuesday, 15 Nov 16 - Thailand v Australia

Match Day 6 - AWAY - Thursday, 23 Mar 17 - Iraq v Australia

Match Day 7 - HOME - Tuesday, 28 Mar 17 - Australia v UAE

Match Day 8 - HOME - Thursday, 08 Jun 17 - Australia v Saudia Arabia

Match Day 9 - AWAY - Thursday, 31 Aug 17 - Japan v Australia

Match Day 10 - HOME - Tuesday, 05 Sep 17 - Australia v Thailand

*Venue and kick off details will be confirmed at a later date.