Japan have qualified for Russia and currently lead group B on 20 points (+11 goal difference), with Saudi Arabia (+6) and Australia (+4) on 16 points.
The tiebreakers for teams finishing level on points are: goal difference, goals scored, head-to-head result, head-to-head goal difference, head-to-head goals scored, awa y goals, discipline record and drawing lots
The top two in the group automatically qualify for Russia, while third position must play a two-leg playoff against the No.3 in group A (currently Syria), before taking on the fourth-placed team in CONCACAF (currently Honduras) over two home-and-away matches to qualify.
The crucial fixtures are:
- Sep 5: Thailand v Australia
- Sep 6: Saudi Arabia v Japan
This is what the situation looks like for the Socceroos:
SOCCEROOS DEFEAT THAILAND - 19 POINTS
For Australia to qualify automatically:
- They need Japan to defeat Saudi Arabia or the match be a draw
A tiebreaker will decide if Australia qualify automatically :
- Saudi Arabia defeat Japan (Australia and Saudi to finish on same points).
SOCCEROOS DRAW WITH THAILAND - 17 POINTS
For Australia to qualify automatically they will need:
- Japan to defeat Saudi Arabia
A tiebreaker will decide if Australia qualify automatically if:
- Saudi Arabia draw against Japan (Australia and Saudi to finish on same points).
SOCCEROOS LOSE TO THAILAND - 16 POINTS
The only way Australia can qualify automatically under this scenario is if they win the tiebreaker after Saudi Arabia lose against Japan.
NOTE: UAE can mathematically still reach the playoff qualifying position but need to win against Iraq, plus make up a minimum six goals in goal difference on the teams above.