China face the prospect of being drawn against three of Asia's qualifiers for the World Cup at next year's Asian Cup finals in Qatar after the seeds for the tournament were announced yesterday. The national team's poor showing at the last tournament in 2007 has seen Gao Hong-bo's side grouped in the third tier of seeds for the quadrennial championship, bringing the possibility of one of the toughest draws imaginable. With South Korea in the first tier, Australia and Japan in tier two and North Korea in the fourth group of seedings, China could be drawn in what would amount to the ultimate Group of Death next January. Chinese Football Association vice-president Zhang Jilong is hoping the team can overcome whatever hurdles are placed in their path and build on the success of winning the East Asian Championship this year. 'I'm not worried,' he said. 'It's a good opportunity for the team to prove we are heading in the right direction. The team is improving. 'I'm sure they understand the competition will be serious and we need to play harder than ever.' China were ranked alongside the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan after the results of the 2007 tournament were used to determine the seeds. China were placed in the third group as a result of their performance at the last Asian Cup, when they failed to progress beyond the group stages. After a comfortable 5-1 win over tournament co-hosts Malaysia, China drew with Iran before losing to Uzbekistan to exit the tournament just three years after finishing as runners-up on home soil. That performance - when China lost 3-1 to Japan in Beijing in the 2004 final - was the country's best performance in the continental championship and came two years after their debut appearance at the World Cup. Since then China have struggled, failing even to reach the final phase of the qualifying tournament for the World Cup finals. Hosts Qatar are joined in the top bracket of seeds by defending champions Iraq, 2007 beaten finalists Saudi Arabia and South Korea, who finished in third place at the last edition of the competition. Three-time Asian Cup winners Japan are in the second tier along with Australia, who will be making their second appearance at the tournament since joining the Asian confederation in 2006, as well as Uzbekistan and Iran, another three-time Asian champion.