• Kyodo

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Japan is likely to begin its campaign for the 2010 World Cup finals in the third round of Asian qualifiers next year after receiving byes in the earlier rounds, Asian Football Confederation sources said Sunday. According to the qualifying format being worked out by the AFC, the first and second rounds would be held in October and November this year and 15 teams would go through to the third round to join Japan and four other seeded countries, the sources said. The third round would be staged between February and September 2008 on a home-and-away basis and the top two from each of five four-nation groups would advance to the final phase being planned for between October 2008 and September 2009.

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