Australia's 2018 World Cup Qualification
The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world, and it is held every four years. The next tournament is being held in Russia in 2018, but qualification has already started. This extensive qualification process guarantees only the best teams in the world.
The Australian national soccer team
is looking to qualify for the World Cup for the fifth time in 2018. They have made the prestigious soccer tournament three straight times. The Australian national soccer team has only managed to get out of the group round one time, and they have never advanced past the first knockout round. While they may not have much success at the World Cup, qualifying is still an impressive feat.
The Australian national soccer team is a member of the Asian Football Confederation. All 46 teams in the Asian Football Confederation play against each other in attempt to earn one of four World Cup spots. The first round of the qualification was completed in the Asian Football Confederation March 2015. Only the 12 lowest ranked teams in the Asian Football Confederation were required to compete in the first round. India, Yemen, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei and Bhutan were able to advance to the second round. Australia was exempt from the first round because they were ranked as the 10th best team in the Asian Football Confederation at the beginning of the year.
Australia has seen their national soccer team undergo major fluctuations in the last few years. Australia was considered to be the 14th best national soccer team in the world by FIFA in September 2009. Their FIFA world ranking would plummet to 102nd in November 2014. The Australian national soccer team has shown a lot of promise in the last few months, which has helped them bump their FIFA world ranking
up to 63rd. They are now considered to be the fourth best team in the Asian Football Confederation, so their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification chances are looking a lot better than a few months ago.
Australia has yet to play a qualification match, but they know the first set of teams they must get past in order to advance to the next round of the qualification tournament. Australia was placed in Group B in the second round of the Asian Football Confederation qualification tournament. They are entered in the same group as Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh. Australia is clearly the most talented team in this group, so they should have no problem advancing to the next round of qualification. Jordan is ranked 103rd in the world, and they should be the only team to threaten Australia.
Australia plays their first qualification game on June 16 against Kyrgyzstan. They will play each team in their group once at home and once on the road. After all five teams have played eight games, the two teams with the most points will advance to the third Asian Football Confederation qualification round. Australia will know if they advanced to the next round after they complete their eighth group game on March 29, 2016.
The third round of qualification will consist of two groups of six teams. The top two teams in each group earn a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup
in Russia. Australia has more talent and experience than almost every team in the Asian Football Confederation. Australia will certainly be disappointed if they do not qualify for the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world, but it will not be an easy task. If Australia improve their play over the next two years, then they should be a near lock to qualify.