August 1, 2021


Next Level Game Over

Socceroos news 2021, FIFA World Cup Qualifying 2022 Qatar, news, fixtures, draw, teams, AFC,

The Socceroos have discovered their path to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, with the groups for the third round of Asian qualification announced on Thursday evening.

Australia – the third-ranked team in Asia – will face Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, Oman and Vietnam.

The top two sides from Group B advance directly to the 2022 tournament, while the third place will enter the playoff rounds.

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In Group A, Iran, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon will do battle.

It is unclear if the Socceroos will play home-and-away fixtures against each side in their group as per usual, or if matches will take place in hubs as they did in the latter stages of last round.

The draw has robbed the Socceroos of the chance to avenge the heartbreak of 1997’s FIFA World Cup qualification playoff loss to Iran, when Australia infamously blew a 2-0 lead in the second leg. The two sides remarkably haven’t met since then.

But there is one significant positive in the draw, with the Socceroos having been handed every side from Asia’s east – meaning far fewer trips to the Middle East should home-and-away games proceed as planned.

The Socceroos topped their group in the second phase with a perfect record of eight wins from eight matches.

But their attempt to reach a sixth World Cup Finals – and fifth-straight – will be no easy task.

Saudi Arabia has also reached the finals five times, and China once. But Japan is seeking a seventh straight appearance at the finals.

Oman and Vietnam have never qualified – though the latter has improved remarkably in recent years, having never even reached this stage of qualifying before.

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Games are scheduled to be played on these dates:

2021: 2 September, 7 September, 7 October, 12 October, 11 November, 16 November.

2022: 27 January, 1 February, 24 March and 29 March 2022.

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