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Australia’s Arnold pleased with draw

Sydney: Australia head coach Graham Arnold is satisfied with his side’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers opponents, despite the presence of a Jordan side which has regularly troubled the Socceroos in the recent past.

Drawn alongside Chinese Taipei, Kuwait and Nepal, as well as the Vital Borkelmans-led Jordanians, Arnold said he was pleased with Australia’s initial path on the long road to Qatar 2022 and China 2023.

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“We are happy with our draw,” he said. “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 (Chinese Taipei and Nepal) 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.”

While the Socceroos found little trouble in a comprehensive win over Kuwait last October, their recent battles with Jordan have been less straight forward, with Al Nashama proving a regular thorn in Australia’s side, particularly in West Asia.

Jordan defeated Australia 2-1 in Amman on the road to Brazil back in 2012, and winning 2-0 in the same city three years later as the teams competed for a place at Russia 2018, with the most recent match between the pair also won by the Jordanians, who claimed a 1-0 group stage win at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

But while Jordan have proven hard to beat in the West, Australia have dominated their meetings on home soil, winning 4-0 in 2013 and 5-1 in 2016, and qualifying for both of the last two World Cups.

Arnold, who has overseen Australia’s senior and U-23 national teams in the past year, believes the Socceroos have a deep pool of talent at their disposal for the matches to come.

“We have worked with 80 players across the Socceroos and (U-23) Olyroos over the past year,” said the decorated 54-cap former international.

“So, I believe, with the depth that we have, we are well positioned to deal with the qualifiers.”

Australia’s Asian Qualifiers campaign begins away to Kuwait on September 10, before their first home match against Nepal a month later.

The top side from each of the eight Asian Qualifiers groups, along with the four best runners-up, will qualify for the final round of Qatar 2022 qualifiers as well as AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

However, should Qatar - having already qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as hosts - win their group, the five best second-placed teams will advance to the third round.

The same will apply should Qatar finish as one of the best four second-placed teams, with the fifth best second-placed side advancing.

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