Rio de Janeiro: AFC Asian Cup holders Japan will face DPR Korea in the third round of qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup after Saturday's draw pooled the two South Africa 2010 participants in Group C
Japan, who bowed out of the last World Cup on penalties to Paraguay at the Round of 16 stage before going on to win continental honours in Qatar, and the North Koreans have also been grouped with Syria and Uzbekistan.
Australia, runners-up to Japan in January's AFC Asian Cup final and the third of Asia's four representatives at South Africa 2010, are in Group D with four-time World Cup qualifiers Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand.
Korea Republic, who complete the quartet of Asian sides that took part at the first edition of the planet's premier football event to be played in Africa, are in Group B alongside Lebanon, Kuwait and the UAE, with the Gulf duo looking to take part in the World Cup for the only the second time after playing in the 1982 and 1990 tournaments respectively.
Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, have been pooled in Group E along with three-time World Cup qualifiers Iran, Bahrain and Indonesia while China, Jordan, Singapore and Mexico '86 qualifiers Iraq make up Group A.
The winners and runners-up from these groups qualify for Brazil 2014 while the two third-placed teams face each other with the side that emerges victorious meeting a representative from South America in a continental playoff.
2014 FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Round 3
Group A: China Jordan Iraq Singapore
Group B: Korea Republic Kuwait UAE Lebanon
Group C: Japan Uzbekistan Syria DPR Korea
Group D: Australia Saudi Arabia Oman Thailand
Group E: Iran Qatar Bahrain Indonesia