The AFC announced the seeds for the third stage of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification as the 15 qualifiers from the first two rounds join Asia’s five highest ranked teams in the draw, which will take place in Durban, South Africa on Sunday.
The seeding format is based on results at the finals and qualifying stages of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which makes Bahrain the highest ranked of the 15 qualifiers after they reached the AFC/CONCACAF play-off stage where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Trinidad and Tobago.
Uzbekistan, who were beaten by Bahrain in the AFC Play-off, are the next highest seeds followed by Kuwait, DPR Korea and China. Jordan are the 11th seeds while reigning AFC Asian Cup champions Iraq are one below in 12th.
2011 AFC Asian Cup hosts Qatar are seeded 16th behind the West Asian trio of Oman, the UAE and Lebanon while Syria, who were the most impressive winners in the previous round of 2010 qualifiers following their stunning 11-1 aggregate win over Indonesia, are the 17th seeds.
Thailand, the only AFC Asian Cup 2007 co-host to advance to the third stage of World Cup qualifying, are 18th seeds, Turkmenistan are 19th, and current ASEAN champions Singapore are seeded 20th.
These 20 teams will be drawn into five groups of four with the top two sides in each group advancing to the next qualification round.
2. Korea Republic
5. Saudi Arabia
9. DPR Korea