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Asian Cup 2007 seedings

19 December 2006 20:29

Heavyweights Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea have been seeded for the Asian Cup finals next year, meaning they will avoid each other in the draw.

The seedings are based on the FIFA world rankings for October 2006.

As such, they will be placed in the same pot for the draw and will not meet each other until the knockout stages of the showpiece tournament which runs from July 7-29.

The four co-hosts, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, are also in their own pot, and will also be separated in the draw.

The remaining eight finalists -- Bahrain, China, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan -- were split into two other pots.

The 16 teams will be drawn into four pools of four teams with one team from each pot randomly selected for each pool.

The top two teams will progress to the knockout stages after the round robin.

At previous tournaments, teams were seeded solely on the basis of their performance in past Asian Cup finals.

"The new classification system ensures that the same number of strong teams are placed with each of the four co-hosts and is thus a break from the past," said the Asian Football Confederation.

"Another rationale behind basing the seedings on the FIFA world ranking is to avoid clubbing three or more FIFA World Cup 2006 teams (Japan, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Australia) in the same group."

The pots

Pot 1: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam

Pot 2: China, Iraq, UAE, Bahrain

Pot 3: Qatar, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman

Pot 4: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea

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