Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea were named as the four seeds for the
2007 Asian Cup draw on Tuesday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said.
The AFC said the choice of the four seeds was decided by the FIFA world
rankings, with Asian newcomers Australia now the region's top-ranked team after
climbing to 38th.
The four seeded teams were all placed in the same pot for the draw, meaning
they cannot play each other until the knockout stages of next year's tournament.
The four co-hosts, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, were also
placed in their own pot, and the remaining eight finalists -- Bahrain, China,
Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan -- were
split into the two other two pots.
The 16 finalists will be drawn into four pools of four teams for next year's
Cup, with one team from each pot randomly selected for each pool.
The tournament kicks off in Bangkok on July 7 and finishes with the final in
Jakarta on July 29. Each pool will conduct a round-robin competition to decide
the two teams to advance to the knockout stages.
Pots for Tuesday's 2007 Asian Cup draw (one team from each pot will be
randomly chosen for each pool)
Pot 1: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam (all co-hosts)
Pot 2: China, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain
Pot 3: Qatar, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman
Pot 4: Australia, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic