BANGKOK, THAILAND - NOVEMBER 15: Trent Sainsbury of the Socceroos acknowledges the crowd after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Thailand and the Australia Socceroos at Rajamangala National Stadium on November 15, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Socceroos are set to finish their second stage of World Cup qualifiers by June of next year, the Asian Football Confederation has confirmed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused plenty of headaches for the qualifying tournament for Qatar 2022, but Asian officials have announced new dates in March and June 2021 for countries to complete their second-round group fixtures.

The Socceroos will face Kuwait at home and Nepal away in March of next year, with their final two games at home in June against Chinese Taipei and Jordan.

Australia, with three of the last four at home, are well placed.

They have a 100 per cent record, having won all four games to give them 12 points so far.

The third stage of qualifying, which will be much tougher, is expected to begin in September 2021 and finish by March 2022.

If Australia finishes third in the third stage group – as they did in 2017 – they will need to win an Asian playoff before progressing.

The AFC has ruled that the “winner takes all” match, will see the victor progressing to the intercontinental playoff.

Those games are scheduled for a FIFA window in May-June 2022.