Malaysia to host play-off

Syria secured third spot in Group A with a win in Tehran against already qualified Iran

Syria secured third spot in Group A with a win in Tehran against already qualified Iran

Football Federation Australia says it has received official confirmation that Syria will host the Socceroos in Malaysia in the first leg of the Asian World Cup qualifying playoff next month.

They have an unbeaten record at Hang Jebat Stadium, having won three and drawn one of their four matches, including a 3-1 win over Qatar in their most recent game there in August.

By contrast, Syria's surge to unexpectedly finish third in their Asian group has seen them jump five places to 75 in the World.

Due to the ongoing civil war in their country, since 2010 the Syrians have played their home qualifiers in Malaysia, where the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has its headquarters.

The Syrian Football Federation had investigated staging the first leg in Abu Dhabi but realised that, given the short time until the match, obtaining visas for players and staff would prove hard.

Syria's football fans had something to celebrate about after their team qualified for the play-offs. South Korea also qualified from Group A. That pool included the UAE, who finished fourth.

With the latest FIFA World rankings released overnight, we take a look at how the Caltex Socceroos are placed in Asia and in relation to potential play-off opponents in CONCACAF. Asian champions Australia, the continent's third-highest ranked team at No 45, are seeking a fourth successive appearance.

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