Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has welcomed the prospect of playing Nepal, Jordan, Taiwan and Kuwait in the second stage of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Aiming for a fifth consecutive World Cup appearance, Australia heads one of five groups comprising 40 teams in the Asian confederation.
“We are happy with our draw,” Arnold told socceroos.com.au.
“My first game in charge was in Kuwait City, and we won 4-0, so we have been there and experienced Kuwait as a group.
“There are two teams that we have drawn (Kuwait and Jordan) that we have experience against and two teams that we are not as familiar with.
“But we will do our due diligence and ensure that we take every game as it comes and respect each match.
“We have worked with 80 players across the Socceroos and Olyroos over the past year, so I believe with the depth that we have, we are well positioned to deal with the qualifiers.”
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) July 17, 2019
Teams play a total of eight home-and-away fixtures from September to June 2020, with the group winners and four best runners-up advancing to the final stage of qualifying.
Doing so also ensures automatic qualification for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 finals as well as the next round of Asian qualifying for Qatar 2022.
The Socceroos have already been confirmed to play at the 2020 Copa America in Argentina and Colombia, with that tournament to run from June 12 to July 12.
Arnold had earlier said the Socceroos must start becoming ruthless if they wanted to improve.
“We’ve got a very good group of players and we’ll treat every one of these games as a way of being ruthless,” Arnold told AAP.
“We need to start being ruthless in a sense of nailing the opposition. I expect that over the next few years.
“Every opponent that we play we treat with respect, but we go out on the pitch expecting to put in a great performance.”
The draw was held at AFC headquarters in Malaysia on Wednesday night (AEST).
🔥🔥 We’re definitely in for a treat. Here’s the #AsianQualifiers Round 2 draw results.
Tell us your thoughts!🤔 pic.twitter.com/aopLq2AOpA
— AFC (@theafcdotcom) July 17, 2019
Kuwait v Australia: Tuesday, September 10
Australia v Nepal: Thursday, October 10
Chinese Taipei v Australia: Tuesday, October 15
Jordan v Australia: Thursday, November 14
Australia v Kuwait: Thursday, March 26
Nepal v Australia: Tuesday, March 31
Australia v Chinese Taipei: Thursday, June 4
Australia v Jordan: Tuesday, June 9
All kick-off times and venues are to yet to be confirmed.