Thailand handed horror draw in World Cup bid

Thailand will face a hard time trying to make the World Cup for the first time in their history after they were drawn against Asian powerhouses Australia and Japan in a tough six-team Group B.

Australia are the reigning Asian Cup champions, while star-studded Japan have qualified for the tournament five consecutive times.

And it does not get any easier for the War Elephants, Southeast Asia’s highest ranked team, with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Iraq completing the group.

Saudi Arabia made the World Cup finals four times in a row starting in 1994, although they have not qualified since the 2006 edition.

They have reiterated their desire to make a return to the world stage and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, who scored 14 goals in the second round of qualifiers, will be looking to increase his tally.

UAE, meanwhile, are led by talented attacking duo Omar Abdulrahman and Ahmed Khalil.

Iran, currently Asia's top-ranked team at No.42, and world No.56 South Korea are the heavyweight nations in Group A.

Uzbekistan, China, Qatar and Syria round out the group.

The top two teams from each group at the end of qualifying make it to the 2018 World Cup, to be held in Russia.