Socceroos, Australia World Cup qualification: Japan v Iraq highlights

THE Socceroos’ bid for direct World Cup qualification has been boosted by Asian rivals Japan being held to a 1-1 draw against Iraq in Tehran.

Group B leaders Japan’s failure to take full points on Tuesday has them on 17 points, with Australia one point behind Samurai Blue in third.

Saudi Arabia sit in second spot, equal with the Socceroos on points but with a superior goal difference despite Australia’s 3-2 win in Adelaide last week.

Japan remains in pole position to be the first of two group B teams to automatically qualify for Russia 2018 with a goal difference of plus-nine, while the Saudis sit plus-seven and the Socceroos plus-six with all teams having played eight matches.

Australia will meet Japan on August 31 before wrapping up its direct qualification campaign against Thailand a week later.

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