The Brazilian defender Branco, who played in the last three World Cups, signed a contract with Major League Soccer on Sunday and was assigned to the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars for the rest of the season.
The final stage of the Asian qualifying rounds for next year's World Cup in France will be played on a home-and-away basis within two five- team groups. The two groups will be drawn today. Saudi Arabia and South Korea, the two Asian participants in the last World Cup, will each be drawn into one of the groups. The remaining eight teams will be drawn freely. The leaders of each group at the end of the final stage will automatically qualify for next year's finals, while the two runners-up will meet in a play-off - again on a home-and-away basis - for the third available berth. The losers of that play-off have one last chance to make the finals by facing Australia, the top team from the Oceania region, on 22 and 20 November.Reuse content