Win, lose or draw against Palestine on Tuesday evening in Perth, Australia are through to the next stage of qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup to be held in the United States of America.

A new tournament format for the World Cup has made qualification far easier, with 48 teams to contest rather than 32, but the battle to make the tournament still isn't over for the Socceroos.

The game against Palestine - to be played in Perth from 10:10pm (AEST) on Tuesday - will only determine whether Australia go through the second round (Australia's first round) of qualification undefeated or not, after recording two wins over Bangladesh and Lebanon, and beating Palestine away previously.

Palestine too have qualified for the next stage of Asian qualification out of Group I, while the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Uzbekistan, Oman, South Korea, Japan and Qatar also all have their spots secured with a game to play.

16 teams in total qualify for the next round of Asian qualification, with one of India, Afghanistan and Kuwait, one of Syria and North Korea, one of China and Thailand, one of Kyrgyztan and Malaysia, and one of Indonesia and Vietnam to go through from the final day of matches.

Those 16 teams will then be drawn across three groups of six, with each team within their group to square off in home and away matches which are expected to be played on the following dates:

  • September 5, 2024
  • September 10, 2024
  • October 10, 2024
  • October 15, 2024
  • November 14, 2024
  • November 19, 2024
  • March 20, 2025
  • March 25, 2025
  • June 5, 2025
  • June 10, 2025

The two highest-ranked teams in each six-team group will automatically qualify for the World Cup, taking up the first six spots in Asian qualification.

The third and fourth placed teams will then move through to the fourth round, which will see the six teams split into two groups of three and play another home-and-away round robin, forcing another four internationals per nation.

The top team in each of those groups will take the seventh and eighth Asian spots at the World Cup, while the second-placed teams in each group move through to the fifth round - a sudden death two-leg tie played home and away, with the winner of that then forced into an inter-confederation play-off which will feature six teams from around the world.