Socceroos to face Japan in World Championship qualifying | Bega District News

For the fourth consecutive World Cup qualifying campaign, the Socceroos were pitted against Asian powerhouse Japan. Australia were drawn Thursday in Group B for the third qualifying round with Samurai Blue, Vietnam, Oman, China and Saudi Arabia. It comes after Japan and Australia faced off in the same qualifying phase on the road to the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups. Australia also faced Saudi Arabia in the 2018 qualifiers, finishing third behind Japan and the Middle Eastern nation to send them on a tough jump-off course to Russia. The top two teams from each group will advance to Qatar 2022, while the third-ranked teams will advance to the play-offs. The winner of that match will then face a nation from another confederation for a home and away match with the winner qualifying for the World Cup. After securing eight perfect wins from eight matches in the second qualifying phase, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was optimistic about his side’s prospects. “What we learned in the second phase where we had to play seven of the eight away games, and we won all eight games, gave the players a lot of confidence and confidence when they play the outside, ”Arnold said. “We showed in this second phase a lot of resilience and like I said a lot of conviction, so wherever we play we expect to win every game.” Iran, which Australia still haven’t played since the two nations’ infamous World Cup play-offs in 1997, were drawn in Group A with South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Australia and Japan have a long-standing rivalry which includes the Socceroos’ first victory in the World Cup final when a brace from Tim Cahill inspired a 3-1 win in Germany in 2006. Overall, the Socceroos won seven of 25 matches against Japan, but last tasted victory over rivals in 2010. Japan have won four of the last seven since then. The matches of the third qualifying phase are expected to be played in September, October, November, January, February and March, but the actual dates and locations have yet to be confirmed. Depending on travel restrictions due to the COVID pandemic, matches can be played in a tournament-style hub in a centralized location as they were for the last matches of the second qualifying round last month. ASIAN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING GROUPS THIRD STAGE Group A: Iran, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon Group B: Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Oman, Vietnam Australian Associated Press


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