Sydney, Jul 31 : Australia coach Holger Osieck says he will immediately begin gathering data on his team's opponents following the qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Australia was drawn Saturday with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand in Group B of the third round of Asian qualifying. The team is attempting to reach the tournament for a fourth time, and third in succession.
In the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, Australia—under the guidance of former coach Pim Verbeek—failed to progress from the group stage.
Osieck, who is in Colombia for the Under-20 World Cup, said that the matches would not be easy and Australia will have to know its opponents to be fully prepared for the campaign.
“There's no easy teams in Asia,” he said. “We shouldn't underrate the teams we play in the group. Saudi look pretty strong and you never know where you stand against a team like Oman.”
Australia plays its first pool match of the third round at home against Thailand on Sept. 2. before playing Saudi Arabia away on Sept. 6 "It's always an advantage to start at home, with support of the fans in a familiar environment," said Oseick.
The Socceroos host Oman on matchday three in October, before away games against Oman and Thailand on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15 respectively.
Australia's final match of the third round of Asian qualifiers will be against Saudi Arabia at home on Feb. 29, 2012.
The top two teams in each of the five Asian qualifying groups will advance to the fourth round of Asian qualifiers.
The 10 teams in the fourth round will be divided into two groups of five with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The teams finishing third in each group from round four will play home-and-away in round five, with the winner earning a playoff tie against a team from the South American confederation to qualify for the finals. AP