Asian Cup seedings: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea in pot one
Familiar foes and unknown quantities await the Socceroos at next year's Asian Cup after the confirmation of seedings for the tournament.
Australia, the reigning Asian champions, could be paired with World Cup qualifying opponents Syria and Jordan in the United Arab Emirates-hosted competition next January.
Or they could notch up their first official matches against Turkmenistan, Palestine, Vietnam and Yemen.
The tournament will be the first major priority of incoming coach Graham Arnold, who will succeed short-term boss Bert van Marwijk after the World Cup.
The 24 teams have been placed into four pots based on the latest FIFA world rankings before the May 4 draw.
Six groups of four will be drawn, with a team from each pot.
The Socceroos have been placed in pot one, and will avoid regional powerhouses Japan, South Korea and Iran.
But they could draw emerging giants China, Syria or Iraq in the group stage; the trickiest opponents in pot two.
The biggest obstacle to Australia's progression beyond the group stage could be being paired with Jordan, from pot four, which beat the Socceroos on their last trip to the Middle East.
The expansion to 24 nations has allowed three nations -- the Philippines, Yemen and Kyrgyzstan -- to make their debuts.
Turkmenistan are the lowest-ranked side, with an official ranking of 129, while at 36, Iran edges world No. 40 Australia to be the highest-ranked Asian nation.
The Asian Cup takes place in seven stadia in four U.A.E. cities from Jan. 5 next year.
The final will be hosted in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 1.
ASIAN CUP SEEDINGS
POT ONE: U.A.E., Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia
POT TWO: China, Syria, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Qatar, Thailand
POT THREE: Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, India, Vietnam
POT FOUR: DPR Korea, Philippines, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Turkmenistan