Archrivals Japan and South Korea will be separated into two different groups as the top-seeded countries in the upcoming draw for the final round of Asian zone qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
According to Asian Football Confederation documents that arrived at the Japan Football Association on Monday, all eight teams have been grouped into four seeded pairs based on their performances in the 2002 World Cup finals and qualifying matches.
The second-seed teams are Saudi Arabia and Iran, while Bahrain and Uzbekistan have been named third seeds. Kuwait and North Korea are both seeded fourth.
The draw will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 9.
The final round will be conducted on a league basis with teams playing each of their group rivals twice on a home-and-away basis.
The top two teams in each group will advance directly to the World Cup finals, while the two third-placed teams will meet each other in a playoff.
The winner of that playoff will then meet a CONCACAF confederation team in another playoff for a ticket to Germany.