Well, it all comes down to this. One game for the Socceroos to decide their 2022 FIFA World Cup fate. They square off against Peru on Tuesday morning from Qatar, with the winner advancing into the finals of the World Cup.
Check out our full preview and betting tips for the clash below.
Al Rayyan Stadium, Qatar, Tuesday 4.00am (AEST)
The Aussies will once again need to go through South America to qualify for the World Cup Finals, a route made extremely famous back in the early 2000s when a loss to Uruguay in heartbreaking fashion sent them packing, only to avenge that loss four years later in one of the great Aussie sporting moments.
The Socceroos finished third in their group in Round 3 the Asian World Cup qualifiers behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, forcing a one game play in against the U.A.E last week. In a thrilling game, the Aussies advanced after a 2-1 win to book a ticket to play Peru.
The South American qualification process was a bit more straight forward, with all 10 competing nations playing a full home-away round robin event, with the top four going straight through to the finals and the fifth placed team going into the playoff against an Asian competitor.
Peru had a 7-3-8 record through their 18 round robin games, including solid wins over the likes of Chile and Columbia. They struggled against the South American big three of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina though, claiming just one point throughout the six games against those nations.
At around $4.20 to win in regular time and $2.40 to qualify for the World Cup Finals, if you can find away to like Australia in this match, there is certainly some value to be had. The one benefit for Australia is that they just played in Qatar last week so should be more acclimatise to the conditions which should be extremely hot and humid in Qatar on Tuesday morning.
Around the same time that the Aussies were taking on the U.A.E, Peru were shaping up in a friendly match against New Zealand in Spain, a game that they won 1-0. While they were missing some of their key players for that clash, their starting line-up had 6-7 of the players that should feature in the starting XI against Australia.
Peru possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Advincula, Zambrano, Callens, Trauco; Tapia, Yotun, Pena; Carrillo, Lapadula, Cueva
Gallese, Zambrano, Callens, Pena, Yuton, Carrilo and Lapadula all played in that clash against New Zealand in a game that saw them have jsut one shot on goal, claiming a 1-0 win in the process.
There's no doubt that the Peru side come from slightly better footballing pedigree than the Socceroos, but you have to put some stock into the fighting Aussie spirit which has aided them se well on their quest to qualify for the last four World Cup Finals in a row.
Australia possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Atkinson, Rowles, Wright, Behich; Mooy; Boyle, Irvine, Leckie; Hrustic, Maclaren
The big missing piece for Graham Arnold's men will be Tom Rogic. Arguably the Socceroos best player, the talented midfielder has opted to miss both of these final qualifying matches on account of personal reasons. Apart from the Celtic star, Arnold will have a fulll squad at his disposal, one that I think is capable of causing an upset in Qatar.
Their last meeting came at the 2018 World Cup, where Peru claimed a 2-0 win. Interestingly though, the Aussies dominated that in all aspects except the scoreboard. They maintained more possession and fired off 14 goal attempts to just 4 for the Peruvians. I think these teams are slightly more evenly matched than the bookmakers will have you think and I'm happy to take the Aussies to advance here.
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