The Socceroos have been given a relatively easy draw for the World Cup qualifiers, including minnows Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The Asian Champions are in Group B which also includes Bangladesh and Jordan.
The preliminary draw is a home and away round robin format, with qualification games scheduled from June 11, 2015 to March 29, 2016. The top teams from each group will qualify for the next stage.
Australia’s first game is against Kyrgyzstan on June 16, 2015. The Australians then play against Bangladesh in Perth, but the location of the other home games are yet to be announced.
The Socceroos will play a trial match against the Persian Lions in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe in-between engagements in September.
Bangladesh is ranked at 167 in the world, Kyrgyzstan is 153 and Jordan is 103, while Australia is ranked at 62.
Australia has had its fair share of troubles playing against Jordan, having gone down to them 2-1 in Amman in the closing stages of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Australia’s earlier games are against lesser ranked teams because the initial qualifying stages involve merging top seeds against minor grade teams.
The best team in each pool will be rewarded with qualification into the 2018 World Cup. – Joseph Walz