Australia will continue its bid for a third straight World Cup appearance in the Asian qualifiers and have drawn rival Japan in the same group.
The two nations will feature as the main acts in Group B, along with Iraq, Jordan and Oman. Good luck to those three.
Group A consists of South Korea (2002 World Cup semi-finalist), Iran, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, and Qatar.
Games will be played between June 3rd of this year and June 18 of 2013 with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup finals while the two third-placed will battle it out for a last spot.
Australia plays Oman on June 9th then faces Japan four nights later. Australia won five of six in the previous group, a record that would have been perfect had the Socceroos not let an 18th minute goal slip when they play Oman in Muscat.
The Socceroos also lost to Japan in the final of the AFC Asian Cup 14 months ago and Japanese-based, Australian striker Alex Brosque had this for SBS.
“Look, Japan wouldn’t have been my first choice but the reality is that if we can’t finish in the top two in the group then we won’t really deserve to go through anyway, even though we’d still have another chance if we finished third,” he said.
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck today said that he believed his side feature enough firepower to get past the like of Japan.
The German acknowledged the group was tough and that the away games would be quite difficult.
“We know what is at stake now and we know what we have to deliver,” he said in a generical quote that could pass in every sport.
“We have to right there from the start, from minute one.”
And Holger, we wouldn’t expect anything less.