Australia discover their potential World Cup opponents if they get past UAE and Peru in qualifying playoffs over the summer… with France, Denmark and Tunisia awaiting the Socceroos in Qatar later this year
- Australia could face France, Denmark and Tunisia at the 2022 World Cup
- But the Socceroos still have to overcome two big hurdles to make it to Qatar
- They finished third in Asian Qualifying and missed out on automatic qualification
- As a result, Graham Arnold’s side must face UAE in a fourth-round tie on June 7
- If they prevail Australia will then take on Peru in a crucial playoff one week later
- Beating the fifth-placed CONMEBOL team will guarantee their ticket to Qatar
- All three teams discovered their potential World Cup opponents in Friday’s draw
Australia could face France, Denmark and Tunisia at the 2022 World Cup if they navigate their way past United Arab Emirates and Peru in qualifying playoffs over the summer, Friday’s draw has confirmed.
The Socceroos missed out on automatic qualification for this year’s showpiece, which gets underway in Qatar on November 21.
Graham Arnold’s side finished third in Asian Qualifying Group B after winning just four of their 10 qualifying fixtures, yet that means they are still in with a chance of reaching the tournament.
Australia have discovered their potential opponents at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
The Socceroos could join a group containing world champions France at the tournament
To do so, they must first get past Group A’s third-place team UAE in a fourth-round fixture on June 7, which is taking place in Doha, the Qatari capital, three months later than scheduled due to the disruptive effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Should they emerge victorious from that tie, Australia will then lock horns with Peru – who finished fifth in CONMEBOL qualifying – in an intercontinental playoff on June 13/14.
The winner of that playoff will book their place in Qatar, and on Friday all three teams still in contention discovered their potential World Cup opponents.
After being seeded in pot four, which includes the lowest ranked teams, either Australia, UAE or Peru were drawn in Group D alongside Denmark, Tunisia and reigning world champions France.
Graham Arnold’s side still have to come through two qualifying fixtures to secure their place
They face UAE in the fourth round of Asian Qualifying on June 7, with an intercontinental playoff against Peru to come for the winner
Whichever side emerges from those playoffs will join a World Cup group containing France
Denmark and Tunisia were the other teams draw in Group D at this year’s tournament
Whichever side emerges from the qualifying playoffs will have their work cut out in Qatar, with France currently third in the FIFA Rankings and looking to defend their crown.
Denmark are 12th in the rankings, while Tunisia find themselves down in 35th.
Despite losing their last two matches against Japan and Saudi Arabia and missing out on direct qualification as a result, Football Australia have confirmed that Arnold will remain in his position as head coach until the end of Australia’s World Cup campaign.
Arnold, who has spent four years in charge of the Socceroos, is being offered short-term stability in the role after a miserable return of just six points from their last seven qualifying matches plunged his future into doubt.
But Chair of Football Australia Chris Nikou said on Wednesday: ‘The Board of Football Australia believed it was important that we provided a stable environment and to get on with planning for the play-off phase given the very short turn-around.
‘By confirming that Graham will remain Head Coach of the Socceroos until the completion of our FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 campaign, it enables Graham, his support staff and the playing group to move forward with certainty, and without delay, to ensure the best possible preparation for the next phase of qualification.’
All three sides learnt their potential fate at this year’s showpiece in Friday’s World Cup draw