No, not political commentary…
Qualifying draws for the Football (soccer) World Cup have been drawn up, and Australia looks to have a pretty tough group. Japanese media has been declaring it a nasty group for Japan – declaring that there are ‘rising forces’ in their pool, but I don’t see it. And South Korea & Iran have absolutely sweet draws.
Here are the groupings (FIFA rankings in parentheses):
- Australia (48); Iraq (70); China (85); Qatar (86)
- Japan (33); Oman (76); Bahrain (101); Thailand (113)
- South Korea (42); North Korea (117); Jordan (122); Turkmenistan (127)
- Saudi Arabia (57); Uzekistan (64); Singapore (130); Lebanon (137)
- Iran (40); UAE (99); Syria (109); Kuwait (121)
Don’t know what to make of it really, but it seems more than a little unbalanced. Australia has to face 3 teams that are all ranked 86 or higher. South Korea’s closest rival is North Korea, who would be the lowest ranked team in either Group 1 or 2. China and Qatar have to be feeling shafted, as their rankings would place them second in either Groups 3 or 5, and at worst a clear 3rd in any of the pools.
Still, at the end of the day, Australia is the top-ranked team in Group 1, and has control of it’s destiny. Win, or go home.
Now appoint a bloody coach.