Australia's World Cup qualification playoff path explained

Australia Thailand September
After failing to secure an automatic spot in Russia, the Socceroos must now negotiate two cut-throat playoffs to earn qualification

Australia's path to the World Cup features two playoffs after failing to lock in automatic spot after the group stage of Asian qualifying.

A narrow 2-1 win over Thailand and Saudi Arabia's victory against Japan condemned the green-and-gold to third position in group B - and a two-leg home-and-away tie versus Syria, who finished third in group A.

The first leg will be hosted by Syria on October 5 and will most likely be in Malaysia - where the war-torn nation played their group stage home games - with the return match to played in Australia five days later.

The winner of the Asian playoff will then play home-and-away against the fourth-placed qualifier from the CONCACAF region (currently Honduras) on November 6 and 14 for a spot in Russia.

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Panama and the USA are also possible CONCACAF-based opponents, with three matchdays of qualifying to be played.