PARIS (AFP) - Pot 3 comprises of teams from Concacaf and Asia.
AUSTRALIA (Manager: Ange Postecoglou)
Australia are appearing at their third consecutive World Cup finals and their fourth overall, but the Socceroos head to Brazil with modest expectations. They struggled to convince in Asian qualifying under German coach Holger Osieck, winning just three of eight matches in their final group, and he was fired after a 6-0 friendly defeat to France in October. He has been replaced by Postecoglou. Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer recently retired from the international set-up, but Bayer Leverkusen's Robbie Kruse is one to watch from the new crop.
IRAN (Manager: Carlos Queiroz)
Iran are Asia's top-ranked side and won their final qualifying group ahead of South Korea and Uzbekistan. Under Queiroz, they are through to their fourth World Cup finals and first since Germany in 2006. Queiroz, who took his native Portugal to the last 16 in South Africa in 2010, has a squad made up largely of domestic-based players, led by the captain Javad Nekounam, once of Osasuna in Spain. Their most recognisable name, however, is probably the Fulham midfielder Ashkan Dejagah.
JAPAN (Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni)
Japan will be appearing at their fifth successive World Cup, and will be looking to build on impressive recent performances at major tournaments. They reached the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup and then won the Asian Cup in 2011 and this year's East Asian Cup, and the Samurai Blue eased through qualifying under former AC Milan coach Zaccheroni. They have outstanding quality in midfield, including captain Makoto Hasebe, of Nuremberg, CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, but are a little short in other areas.
SOUTH KOREA (Manager: Hong Myung Bo)
South Korea stumbled through qualifying, but they eventually edged past Uzbekistan on goal difference to reach their eighth consecutive World Cup finals. Hong, the country's most capped player and winner of the Bronze Ball in the 2002 World Cup as South Korea reached the semi-finals on home soil, was appointed as coach in June to replace Choi Kang Hee. Their star man is Son Heung Min of Bayer Leverkusen. South Korea will do well to match their run to the last 16 in 2010.
COSTA RICA (Manager: Jorge Luis Pinto)
Costa Rica finished second behind the United States in the final Concacaf qualifying group to return to the World Cup after missing out on a place in South Africa in 2010. Fulham forward Bryan Ruiz captains Los Ticos, who will do well to progress beyond the group stage.
HONDURAS (Manager: Luis Fernando Suarez)
Honduras finished four points ahead of Mexico to take the final automatic qualifying berth in the Concacaf zone after a campaign which featured a win away to the Mexicans at the Azteca stadium. The Central American nation of just over eight million people are through to their third World Cup finals, and second in a row, with Suarez following in the footsteps of his fellow Colombian Reinaldo Rueda, who took Los Catrachos to South Africa in 2010. The squad features a handful of European-based players, such as Celtic left-back Emilio Izaguirre and Wilson Palacios of Stoke City.
MEXICO (Manager: Miguel Herrera)
Mexico will be appearing at their sixth straight finals, although they needed a play-off win against New Zealand to make it to Brazil after a disastrous qualifying campaign. El Tri won twice and scored just seven goals in their final 10-game Concacaf group, and there were three changes of coach before Herrera eventually steered the side through. Herrera, who has been in charge of Club America, will now stay in charge of the national team as Mexico, who won Olympic gold at London 2012, aim to reach at least the last 16. Herrera used a squad of domestic-based players for the New Zealand play-off but can also call on foreign-based stars such as Manchester United's Javier Hernandez.
UNITED STATES (Manager: Juergen Klinsmann)
The USA turned to Klinsmann, who won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990 and coached his unified country to the semi-finals on home soil in 2006, to lead them to a seventh successive finals. They finished top in Concacaf qualifying and also won this year's Gold Cup but they will do well to match their previous best performance of reaching the quarter-finals in 2002. Klinsmann's team contains established European-based names such as Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones.
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