Australia is well-placed to move from the group stage to the knockout rounds in defence of their Asian Cup title in the UAE, after the Draw last night in Dubai. 

Australia has been drawn in Group B with neighbours Jordan, Palestine and Syria who are ranked 117th, 83rd and 76th in the world respectively. In the match against Syria, Arnold will be pitted against former Perth Glory (NSL) coach, Bernd Stange, while Jordan is now coached by former England midfielder, Ray Wilkins.

Amongst the other seeded nations at the Asian Cup, top seed Iran (Group D) has been drawn with Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen whose coach, Abraham Mebratu, had to gather players from 7-a-side kick-abouts in order to make a squad to qualify for the tournament. 

Japan has been drawn with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Pim Verbeek-coached Oman (Group F), and South Korea will meet China, Kyrgystan and the Philippines (Group C). 

Perhaps the most interesting group from a geo-political perspective is Group E headed by seeded Saudi Arabia, and including Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea.

The final group comprises the host nation UAE who have been drawn alongside Bahrain, Thailand and India (Group A). 

The Asian Cup takes place in the UAE from 5 January to 1 February next year. 

Categories: News | Socceroos | Asia

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