SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's prospects of winning the Asian Cup on home soil in 2015 became significantly more difficult when the Socceroos were drawn into Pool A with 2002 World Cup semifinalist South Korea.

The top four ranked teams were seeded into different groups, with South Korea slipping to No. 5 in the region ahead of Wednesday's draw and, in turn, becoming the most threatening team from the second pot of nations. Australia will play Kuwait in the tournament opener on Jan. 9 in Melbourne. Oman was also drawn into Group A.

Defending champion Japan was drawn into Group D with 2007 Asian champion Iraq, Jordan and the winners of the eight-team 2014 AFC Challenge Cup to be held in the Maldives in May.

In Group B, Uzbekistan will face three-time champion Saudi Arabia, China and North Korea in what appears the tournament's most competitive group.

Iran was placed with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain in an all-West Asian Group C.