SYDNEY (AP) – Australia coach Holger Osieck says he will immediately begin gathering data on his team's opponents following the qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Australia was drawn Saturday with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand in Group B of the third round of Asian qualifying. The team is attempting to reach the tournament for a fourth time, and third in succession.
In the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, Australia - under the guidance of former coach Pim Verbeek - failed to progress from the group stage.
Osieck, who is in Colombia for the Under-20 World Cup, said that the matches would not be easy and Australia cannot underestimate its opponents.
''There are a lot of strong teams in Asia right now, we know that from experience so I think you shouldn't underrate the teams that we have in our group,'' he said.
''Saudi look pretty strong to me, but you never know where you stand with a team like Oman or even Thailand.
''You have to consider they are all coached by international coaches ... who have all had successful teams before, so I think they will try to introduce that in these teams.''
Australia will play its first match at home against Thailand on Sept. 2 before meeting Saudi Arabia away on Sept. 6. It will host Oman in October before away games against Oman and Thailand in November and a final match against Saudi Arabia at home in February.
Osieck said a strong start would be crucial.
''When you go into qualifying you have to make sure that you have a positive start, that you build from there,'' he said. ''So it's definitely good that we start with a home game, but that doesn't mean necessarily that it's going to be an easy one.''
The top two teams in each of the five Asian qualifying groups will advance to the fourth round of Asian qualifiers.
The 10 teams in the fourth round will be divided into two groups of five with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The teams finishing third in each group from round four will play home-and-away in round five, with the winner earning a playoff tie against a team from the South American confederation to qualify for the finals.