Indonesia Faces Japan and Australia in the Third Round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers

The Southeast Asian representatives find themselves in Group C, where they will compete against Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, and Bahrain, Link Play sports at 789bet.

The draw for the third round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in the Asian region concluded on the afternoon of March 27 in Malaysia. The 18 teams that advanced to this round include Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, China, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Australia, and Palestine.

These 18 teams were divided into six seeded groups based on their FIFA rankings from June 2024. Indonesia, ranked 134th, was placed in the sixth pot alongside North Korea (ranked 110th) and Kuwait (ranked 137th).\

Jay Idzes (number 4) celebrates his goal for Indonesia in their 3-0 victory over Vietnam in the fourth round of Group F during the second round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in the Asian region. Photo: Giang Huy.

Indonesia’s opponents in Group C are Japan (17th), Australia (23rd), Saudi Arabia (56th), Bahrain (81st), and China (88th). Japan, Australia, and Saudi Arabia are considered the strongest contenders as they frequently qualify for the World Cup.

In contrast, Group A features Iran, the 2023 Asian Cup champions Qatar, Uzbekistan, UAE, Kyrgyzstan, and North Korea. Group B includes South Korea, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, and Kuwait.

Indonesia’s draw closely resembles Vietnam’s in the third round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with the only difference being Bahrain instead of Oman. In that round, Vietnam won against China and drew with Japan, but lost the remaining eight matches, finishing last. Japan and Saudi Arabia topped the group, securing direct spots to the 2022 World Cup, while Australia finished third and qualified for Qatar through two playoff matches.

The results of the third-round draw for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in the Asian region.Β 

Indonesia reached the third round of the World Cup qualifiers as the runner-up in Group F of the second round, behind Iraq and ahead of Vietnam and the Philippines. Making their debut in the third round, Indonesia is not seen as a strong contender for the top two spots that would secure a direct berth to the 2026 World Cup. However, with a policy of naturalizing mixed-heritage players, coach Shin Tae-yong and his team aim to compete for third or fourth place to advance to the fourth round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in the Asian region.

The 2026 World Cup, held in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, will feature 48 teams for the first time, with Asia allocated 8.5 spots, up from 4.5. In the third round, teams will compete from September 5, 2024, to June 10, 2025, playing 10 matches in September, October, and November 2024, as well as March and June 2025.

The six teams finishing third and fourth will advance to the fourth round, where they will be divided into two groups of three teams, playing a single round-robin at a neutral venue. The top two teams will secure spots in the 2026 World Cup. The second-placed teams will face each other in a two-leg playoff to determine who will compete in the intercontinental playoff.

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