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Plenty of options in Wenger's Arsenal

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

World Cup Asia Qualifying Draw

The draw ceremony for all relevant regions begins at 3pm GMT on Sunday, November 25, 2008.

The minor nations in the Asia region played the first round of qualifiers in October, ranked based on previous World Cup performance. After Bhutan and Guam withdrew, Kuwait and Indonesia were given a bye into the second round.

In round one, there were 17 two-legged ties. From the qualifying 19 nations, the top 11 ranked teams automatically moved into round three. The eight lowest ranked nations played another two-legged play-off. This took a total of 15 teams into round three.

Australia, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran were joined in the third round by Uzbekistan, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, China, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Thailand, Kuwait and Indonesia from the first round games.

The four victorious second round nations were Turkmenistan, Syria, Thailand and Singapore.

The 20 nations will be drawn into five groups of four teams playing on a round-robin basis. The top two teams in each group qualify for the fourth round. The draw for the group stage takes place on November 25.

Match dates in 2008: February 6, March 26, June 7, June 14, September 6, September 10.

DRAW DETAIL:
• The 20 Stage Three teams will be allocated to 4 pots of 5 teams based on the 2006 World Cup and earlier qualifying rounds of qualifying. The top 5 teams will be placed in Pot A; the next 5 best teams will be placed in Pot B; and so on.
• The teams will be drawn into 5 groups of 4 teams for Stage Three.
• The draw starts with Pot D and ends with Pot A.
• The teams in Pod D are placed in position 4 of each group; the teams in Pot C in position 3; the teams from Pot B in position 2; and the teams from Pot A in position 1.
• Groups are filled starting with Group 1 and ending with Group 5.

Group 1
Team P W D L F A Pts
  Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Iraq 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Qatar 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group 2
Team P W D L F A Pts
  Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Bahrain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Oman 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Thailand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group 3
Team P W D L F A Pts
  Korea Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  DPR Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Jordan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Turkmenistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group 4
Team P W D L F A Pts
  Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Uzbekistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Lebanon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Singapore 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group 5
Team P W D L F A Pts
  IR. Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Kuwait 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  UAE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Syria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

In Round Four, the ten nations which are left are drawn into two groups of five. The top two teams will qualify for the World Cup.

Match dates in 2008: October 15, November 19.

The two teams which finish third will then play-off and the winning nation then faces a further play-off against a country from Oceania for a place in South Africa.

Play-off dates: October 10, 2009 and October 14, 2009. Then November 14, 2009 and November 21, 2009.