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WORLD CUP 2018

Australia and Japan paired in WC 2018 qualifying group

Asian champions Australia were grouped in a formidable pool alongside Saudi Arabia, Japan and the UAE in the final round of 2018 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

Australia and Japan paired in WC 2018 qualifying group

Asian champions Australia were grouped in a formidable pool alongside Saudi Arabia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates in the final round of 2018 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

Joining the quartet in Group B were 2007 Asian champions Iraq and a fast-improving Thailand.

Group A was headlined by consistent qualifiers South Korea and Asia's top ranked team Iran, who both represented the continent at the last World Cup in Brazil along with Australia and Japan.

China, Qatar, Syria and Uzbekistan were also drawn in Group A.

The top two from each pool will qualify for Russia 2018, with the two third-placed sides facing off to see who will advance to a two-legged inter-confederation playoff with a CONCACAF qualifier for another spot in Russia.

The round robin matches will start on Sept. 1.

Group A

Iran

South Korea

Uzbekistan

China

Qatar

Syria

Group B

Australia

Japan

Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates