It's do or die for the Socceroos in their ambitions to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! After an up and down Asian qualifying campaign so far, Australia will face off against the U.A.E in a one game playoff on Wednesday morning to advance to the next round.
We have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the clash below.
Al Rayyan Stadium, Qatar, Wednesday 4am (AEST)
This game will mark the only matchup in Round 4 of the Asian World Cup qualifiers, with the winner advancing onto play Peru on the 13th of June for a place in the World Cup Finals. Australia had multiple opportunities to book their ticket straight through to Qatar in Round 3, but couldnt overcome Saudi Arabia or Japan in their group, finishing third to find themselves in the playoff.
In the other group, the U.A.E finished third behind Iran and South Korea, ending Round 3 with a 3-3-4 record including losses to the two top teams as well as Iran.
There's no doubt that Australia had the tougher road through Round 3 of the Asian qualification. Arguably the three strongest teams in the region are Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia, but all were placed in the same group due to world rankings.
Australia will be pulling no punches when it comes to picking their side for the must win clash. Coach Graham Arnold will have a near full strength squad to select from including international stars in the likes of Aaron Mooy, Ajdin Hrustic and Matthew Ryan.
The one big absentee for the Socceroos will be arguably their best player, Tom Rogic, who has withdrawan from the clash through personal reasons.
Australia Predicted XI: (4-3-3) Ryan - Behich, Sainsbury, Degenek, Karacic - Mooy, Irvine, Hrustic - Mabil, Taggart, Boyle
The Aussies ahve a pretty good history against the U.A.E, winning three of their last four games against them dating back to 2015. In those four games games, there has been a total of just six goals scored, and with so much on the line on Wednesday morning, I expect this to be another pretty defensive, low scoring clash.
I think the Aussies have what it takes to get the job done here by either a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline. Throughout the third round, in games not against Saudi Arabia or Japan, the Aussies played six matches and conceded just four goals. On the contratry, the U.A.E struggled to find avenues to goal in Round 3, putting just seven in the back of the net through their 10 games.
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