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Socceroos and Japan renew World Cup rivalry in 2014 qualifiers

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    You just knew it was going to happen – the Socceroos will face old sparring partners Japan, as well as a tricky away tie to Iraq, in the next round of 2014 World Cup qualifying.

    Australia was drawn in Group B along with Japan, Oman, Jordan and Iraq. Group A consists of Iran, Lebanon, Qatar, Uzbekistan and South Korea.

    The Socceroos and the South Koreans were the top seeds in qualifying, but Australia have arguably been handed the harder route to Brazil.

    The Green and Gold will play Oman away on June 8, in the opening game, and then are up against Japan at Suncorp Stadium four days later. The top two teams from the group will qualify for the World Cup, while the third place team will play-off for the final Asian spot.

    Australia and Japan have played some engaging matches in recent years. The Socceroos dramatically dismantled the Japanese 3-1 back in Germany in 2006, but the North Asians got some revenge at the 2007 and 2011 Asian Cups, knocking out the Socceroos in the quarter-finals and then final.

    Undoubtedly Osieck’s men will want to square the ledger after the recent heart-breaking final loss in Qatar.

    Japanese teams have also had the wood over Australian teams in the Asian Champions League, highlighted most recently by FC Tokyo’s 2-0 defeat of Brisbane Roar.

    Jordan should be the easiest match in the group, but Japan will be dangerous and Australia have lost to both Oman and Iraq previously.

    Oman are ranked 92nd in the world, Jordan 83rd and Iraq 76th, but the FIFA rankings will count for little on the pitch.

    Osieck has had the Socceroos purring in recent games, much more than his predecessor Pim Verbeek ever did, but here lies the ultimate challenge.

    The Australian team will return to Brisbane for their first home game of this round, with the remaining venues to be announced.

    The two Japan games will be beauties. The Socceroos will be tested by a friendly in Denmark before this and then the qualifying round will begin.

    The Socceroos will need to be battle-hardened if they are to have any chance of success in Brazil, and this will certainly be the case after these eight qualifying matches.

    Trips to the Middle East will be long, but publicly Holger Osieck believes that logistically there aren’t too many issues.

    Aussie football fans need to make sure they get out to our home games and give the team the best support possible. Surely the Socceroos will come up against rabid support away, so let’s return the favour on our soil.

    Group A
    Korea Republic
    Iran
    Uzbekistan
    Qatar
    Lebanon

    Group B
    Australia
    Iraq
    Jordan
    Oman
    Japan

    2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers – Fourth Round fixtures
    Sunday, 3 June 2012 Australia – Bye
    Friday, 8 June 2012 Oman v Australia
    Tuesday, 12 June 2012 Australia v Japan
    Tuesday, 11 Sept 2012 Jordan v Australia
    Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012 Iraq v Australia
    Wednesday, 14 Nov 2012 Australia – Bye
    Tuesday, 26 March 2013 Australia v Oman
    Tuesday, 4 June 2013 Japan v Australia
    Tuesday, 11 June 2013 Australia v Jordan
    Tuesday, 18 June 2013 Australia v Iraq

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • March 9th 2012 @ 10:12pm
      Titus said | March 9th 2012 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

      Should definitely play this game in Sydney, Suncorp to small, MCG to Ovally.

      • March 9th 2012 @ 10:32pm
        Nathan of Perth said | March 9th 2012 @ 10:32pm | ! Report

        Oh to hell with them, lets go to Perth =D

        • March 9th 2012 @ 11:31pm
          daniel said | March 9th 2012 @ 11:31pm | ! Report

          Perth would actually be advantageous as its less of a time difference coming from Oman. But then, it doesnt have a FIFA approved stadium (Subi and the WACA are terrible) and the FFA have a bias against WA.

          • March 9th 2012 @ 11:47pm
            Ben of Phnom Penh said | March 9th 2012 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

            I am not so sure given that our team has to fly further for home games than Oman.

        • March 11th 2012 @ 10:01am
          Greg said | March 11th 2012 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          I am from Hobart so Melbourne would be my hope – RLState of origin is on the next night in Sydney so this may rule them out Brisbane sounds like the chatter but FFA may have made plans around us having a weaker team up first before Japan dropping into 2nd seed unexpectedly and the thenfixture got rearranged so they may be looking at options and negotiating over the next month

          Whichever way they go I hope they makeban announcement as early as possible asnit sucks that they don’t and those travel ing end up Booking flightsvlaterb and costing more $$

    • March 9th 2012 @ 11:37pm
      DPL991 said | March 9th 2012 @ 11:37pm | ! Report

      Wow tough group, particulalry in context of Group A, which to my mind is an easier ride. Roos will have to be solid away then do job on home soil to make it through. Definitely not a foregone conclusion by any means.

      • March 9th 2012 @ 11:58pm
        Nathan of Perth said | March 9th 2012 @ 11:58pm | ! Report

        Although Iraq is quite dangerous to us, I’m not going to say that I’d prefer *either* of Uzbekistan and Iran to them. With only two slots and three such strong teams, Group is is the more Death-esque of the groups.

      • March 10th 2012 @ 10:00am
        Ben of Phnom Penh said | March 10th 2012 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        No really obvious tougher group. Ours is a little more consistent in its strength whereas the other has a couple of tougher away trips.

        Not having North Korea coming out of pot 5 makes for a fairer draw

    • March 9th 2012 @ 11:57pm
      Mono said | March 9th 2012 @ 11:57pm | ! Report

      Man… This is all a little surreal fourth round WQC, Japan again. Would like some revenge for that loss last year for sure.

    • March 10th 2012 @ 12:19am
      Roarchild said | March 10th 2012 @ 12:19am | ! Report

      Groups seem pretty even overall.
      A few of the teams like Iraq and Uzbekistan are bi polar but we are talking world cup qualification. It should be tough!

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      • March 10th 2012 @ 12:32am
        Nathan of Perth said | March 10th 2012 @ 12:32am | ! Report

        I would hesitantly suggest Aus, Japan, SK and Iran to go through and Iraq and Uzbekistan to playoff.

    • March 10th 2012 @ 2:07am
      Paul said | March 10th 2012 @ 2:07am | ! Report

      When you think about it, in Asian Cup competition, Japan won both encounters. But they have never beaten us in World Cup competition – 3-1 loss in Kaiserslautern in the 2006 finals, 0-0 draw in Yokohama and 2-0 loss in Melbourne in qualifying for 2010.

      I would say that in our group Japan and Australia would have to be favourites with Iraq and Oman the dark horses, capable of upsetting anyone.

      With group A, Iran and South Korea would be the favourites, with Uzbekistan the dark horse.

      Of course, this is football and it’s anyone’s game, should be an interesting 12 months post-June.

    • March 10th 2012 @ 9:58am
      jamesb said | March 10th 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      who ever had Lebanon in their group will always have the perceived “easier” group.

      Apart from Jordan, we know alot about Japan, Oman and Iraq, so there’s not too many hidden surprises.

      We have beaten Japan, Iraq and Oman before, but they have also beaten us away from home. I like to think our experience going through asia last time will help us this time around.

      We topped our group that featured Oman, we will play Iraq at Doha ( i think) rather than playing Iran in Tahrain in front of 100,000 fans.

      So when you analyse the group, its not that bad. Its certainly not the “group of death”. Theres certainly no Germany, Serbia and Ghana in this group.

      • March 10th 2012 @ 12:44pm
        Axelv said | March 10th 2012 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        We got Japan instead of Iran. Japan are the best team in Asia.

        I really wanted to face Iran, get redemption for 1997, Harry Kewell is the only remaining Socceroo and was there that night. Now it will never happen.

        • Roar Guru

          March 10th 2012 @ 1:45pm
          The Cattery said | March 10th 2012 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          Never say never, it can happen theoretically, but would require an incredible series of events for Australia to meet Iran during this qualifying phase.

          • March 11th 2012 @ 12:59pm
            dasilva said | March 11th 2012 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

            ok. Australia finish 3rd playoff with Iran

            After that plays off with Uruguay to qualify to the world cup.

            That would be a very exciting and heartstopping and trip to nostalgia campaign.

            • Roar Guru

              March 11th 2012 @ 1:03pm
              The Cattery said | March 11th 2012 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

              can you imagine if it came to that? there’d be a few nervous people, all of a sudden that’s some serious hurdles

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