The Socceroos will know their opponents in the first stage of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this Tuesday night. And our Asian Champions are set to avoid the region's heavyweights. Here's how it works.
There are 40 nations in total taking part in the draw in Kuala Lumpur, of which Australia will be in Pot 1. This pot is for the top eight ranked nations in Asia.
That means in this preliminary round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Australia cannot face any of the other nations in Pot 1. The Socceroos' pot include Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, UAE, Uzbekistan, China and Iraq.
Based on the latest FIFA World Ranking which was released on Thursday, the teams will be divided into five pots as follows, from which, the teams will be drawn into eight groups of five teams.
- Pot 1 (Teams ranked 1st to 8th): Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, UAE, Uzbekistan, China, Iraq
- Pot 2 (Teams ranked 9th to 16th): Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Vietnam, Syria and Kuwait
- Pot 3 (Teams ranked 17th to 24th): Afghanistan, Philippines, Palestine, Maldives, Thailand, Tajikistan, Lebanon and India
- Pot 4 (Teams ranked 25th to 32nd): Timor-Leste, Kyrgyzstan, DPR Korea, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, Indonesia, Singapore and Bhutan
- Pot 5 (Teams ranked 33rd to 40th): Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Yemen, Guam, Laos, Cambodia and Chinese Taipei
Australia will begin qualifiers in mid June.
Qualifiers for Russia 2018 double as qualifiers for the next Asian Cup, to be held in UAE in 2019.
The teams will compete according to a double round robin format, and the Round 2 qualification matches will be held from June 11, 2015 to March 29, 2016.
The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup finals.
Russia Watch: Germany saved embarrassment by late Kroos winner
Germany has come back from the brink of a humiliating early FIFA World Cup™ exit, scoring a stoppage-time winner to break Swedish hearts. Elsewhere, Javier Hernandez scored a landmark goal as Mexico continued their dream start to the tournament, while Belgium put in a five-sta
Day 35 Wrap: Sightseeing, cards and haircuts on rare day off
The Caltex Socceroos may be just three days away from their must-win FIFA World Cup™ clash against Peru but coach Bert van Marwijk gave the players a rare day off to recharge the batteries. While Saturday morning’s usual media commitments – where three players are put up for p
Opponent Watch: ‘He must have 15 lungs’
Paul Pogba has been a key figure in France’s two wins at the2018 FIFA World Cup™ but reserved some special praise for a couple of his midfield partners. Plus another blow for reigning champions Germany ahead of their must-win clash, while there’s some harsh criticism for Argen