Australia have a picture of the challenge ahead to reach Qatar 2022 after the second round draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers was held at the AFC House in Malaysia on Wednesday.
The Socceroos are the fourth best team in Asia based on the FIFA World Rankings as they sit 43rd in the world below IR Iran (20), Japan (28) and Korea Republic (37).
The Australians been pitted in Group B where they will be joined by Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait and Nepal as they look to find a place in the finals of the 2022 World Cup.
The Socceroos’ 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia ended on a whimper after they collected just one point from the group stages finishing last in the group behind eventual world champions France, Denmark and Peru. Their only point came in a 1-1 draw against Denmark.
The draw pitted 40 nations, including Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia from the ASEAN region, who were drawn into eight groups of five teams each.
While Vietnam were the highest-ranked ASEAN side in the draw in Pot 2, Thailand and Philippines were in Pot 3. Malaysia and Myanmar were in Pot 4 while Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia found themselves among the lowest-ranked sides of Asia in Pot 5.
Australia fixtures in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
1. September 10, 2019 – Kuwait vs Australia
2. October 10, 2019 – Australia vs Nepal
3. October 15, 2019 – Chinese Taipei vs Australia
4. November 14, 2019 – Jordan vs Australia
5. March 26, 2020 – Australia vs Kuwait
6. March 31, 2020 – Nepal vs Australia
7. June 4, 2020 – Australia vs Chinese Taipei
8. June 9, 2020 – Australia vs Jordan
The second round of the World Cup and Asian Cup joint-qualifiers will commence on September 5, 2019 and conclude on June 9, 2020. The matches in the group stages will be held on an home-and-away basis with each nation playing eight games in total.
The eight group winners as well as the four best runners-up will qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 to be held in China as well as progress to the third and final round of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
The next best 24 teams from the second round of the joint-qualifiers will take part in a separate competition to claim the 12 remaining slots in 24-team 2023 Asian Cup to be held in China.