The Socceroos’ Russia destiny rests firmly in their own hands

David Holden Roar Guru

By David Holden, David Holden is a Roar Guru

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23 Have your say

    The Socceroos got the win and the three points against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago but, in terms of World Cup qualification, Japan’s 1-1 with Iraq in Tehran was just as important.

    With two games to go, Japan have the lead with 17 points with Saudi Arabia and Australia now level pegging on 16 points, with the Saudis marginally ahead on goal difference.

    There are two automatic qualifying spots up for grabs but obviously three into two doesn’t go, so what chance are the Socceroos of finishing in the top two and avoiding some home-and-away sudden death games?

    Well, the first thing to remember is destiny is in their hands. If they win their remaining two qualifying games, they are in. The last game at home against Thailand should lead to a win but their next qualifying game is critical. On 31st August, the Socceroos take on Japan away at Saitama.

    Australia’s last win against Japan in Japan was way back in 1969. Since 2000, they have played seven times away for four losses and three draws. So, it will be almost 50 years between if they do get the win. A draw would be an ok result, but a loss would likely send Australia to playoffs.

    Saudi Arabia have the United Arab Emirates away at the end of August and then have Japan at home on the fifth September. For the UAE, it’s now mathematically impossible to grab third spot so you would think that Saudi Arabia would grab the three points in that game. If Australia can get the draw against Japan, Saudi Arabia would sit in first place one point ahead of Japan and two points ahead of Australia.

    Australia would need to win against Thailand to then be assured of a spot as the other two teams play in the last round.

    Matthew Leckie Australia Socceroos 2016 Football

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    A loss to Japan however would then require a big win against Thailand and a reliance on Japan to beat Saudi Arabia away, with Japan already assured of qualification if they beat Australia. The Japanese could be forgiven for resting some players in that scenarios so it seems like an Australian loss to Japan in August will have the Socceroos moving into a third place playoff.

    The Socceroos’ likely Asian play off opponent would be Uzbekistan, although it could easily be South Korea. Australia would be hoping for the Uzbeks, who the Socceroos have played three times for three wins.

    Despite a win against South Korea in the Asian Cup Final, a playoff between Australia and South Korea would be a toss up with both teams previously expected to qualify.

    A win in the Asian qualifying fourth rounds would see a playoff against the fourth placed CONCACAF team which is shaping up to be Panama or Honduras. Both teams are close to unknowns for Australia and tough away locations will make qualification tight.

    I think the Socceroos will take a point against Japan, win against Thailand and grab one of the two automatic spots for Russia. A loss to Japan would make it very difficult for Australia to qualify.

    The Confederations Cup may actually save their campaign, with the squad to get some much needed match practice leading to probably the most important two games of the players’ careers.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • June 18th 2017 @ 3:32am
      Jeff dustby said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:32am | ! Report

      We are already in Russia

      • June 18th 2017 @ 11:34am
        Bob said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        I see what you did there you clever little man. you must be a hoot at parties.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 18th 2017 @ 12:12pm
          Waz said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Pretty cool for the players if they end up going twice in 12 months though hey …

          • June 18th 2017 @ 8:49pm
            pacman said | June 18th 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

            Waz, you say “cool”. You do realize that summer in Russia occurs in June, July and August? Apparently not very cool, lol!

    • Roar Rookie

      June 18th 2017 @ 6:52am
      Waz said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      The draw away in Thailand stands out as a monumental stuff-up both in terms of result/performance and in preparation. With a week clear before the game Ange chose not to play a friendly match and instead have an “extended training camp”. On the night we played like a team of strangers and were a bit lucky to get a point.

      Recently when challenged over selection of some players not in form and not playing regularly for their clubs Ange defended his selection saying he “knew the players concerned”. Ange does not like friendly games, seemingly preferring training camps to games, but maybe if he’d play more friendlies he’d know more players and in the process have better preparation for important games?

      • June 18th 2017 @ 11:33am
        Bob said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        Ange does not like friendly matches. end of story. in Ange we trust

      • June 18th 2017 @ 9:31pm
        Mark said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

        I ask again: Who should we have played, and where?

        You didn’t answer last time I asked you to back up your suggestion that they should have played a friendly. Let’s see if you do this time.

        This may be news to you, but other Confederations had qualifiers on during that period too. I’m interested to know what opposition you would have had us play and where in the world you would have had us travel a few days before a crucial qualifier.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2017 @ 5:37am
          Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 19th 2017 @ 5:37am | ! Report

          If a friendly was sought then Philippines or Singapore to play us wherever we were training may have been a decent choice. Most of the teams still vying for 2019 AFC Cup Qualification didn’t have games over that period as the weakest teams were having a play-off round. They’d provide a decent hit-out without overly stretching the squad. Oman & Jordan were also free to both play & travel however their style of play is rather different to the Thais’.

          A friendly wasn’t sought though so it is somewhat moot discussing opposition as the market was never tested.

          • June 19th 2017 @ 2:01pm
            Mark said | June 19th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

            I don’t think it’s moot at all. When considering whether to organize a friendly or not I would think one of the first things that would be considered is which other nations are available and willing to play.

            I don’t think Singapore would have provided a really meaningful hit out. Philippines only marginally more so. Jordan or Oman may have been worthwhile, but one has to wonder if there would be any interest from their side in traveling so far for a friendly. They would also have asked us to cover the costs of a match, and if one was to be played in Thailand, there would be zero chance of making any of that money back.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2017 @ 7:06pm
              Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

              Moot means debatable, arguable. As we don’t know who was actually available & willing (as we didn’t ask) the discussion as to who would have been suitable can go on infinitum.

              That may be why Waz never answered your question.

    • June 18th 2017 @ 11:39am
      Swanny said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      im thinking the Roos will finish third and we can look forward to some 2 legged playoffs.

      I’m thinking 80000 in Sydney for the second leg and juric scored the winner in a penalty shootout ,, ??

      • Roar Rookie

        June 18th 2017 @ 12:11pm
        Waz said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        Given a choice I recon the FFA would be happy to roll the dice on that scenario, loads of $$$$$

    • June 18th 2017 @ 1:11pm
      Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      Nice little interview with Ange. I hope this gives you a little bit more confidence going into Tuesday’s game.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 18th 2017 @ 1:42pm
        Waz said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        Confidence comes from results, results comes via performances, performances come via squad/team selection. TV interviews? They’re just propaganda for the gullible masses.

        • June 18th 2017 @ 6:25pm
          Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

          Party pooper 😉

      • June 18th 2017 @ 1:50pm
        Nemesis said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Thanks for the link, Catlex. Good to hear The Boss give his insights.

        I’ve heard reports, Lucy Zelic had intended to interview Fadida to get the best information about tactics, but his internet was busy playing FIFA games.

        Never mind, we probably know what he thinks: Ange is useless, tactics are wrong, if we play 4 at the back all the players will pass with 100% efficiency.

        • June 18th 2017 @ 6:43pm
          Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

          Yes Nemesis, Lucy Zelic, urged Ange to give Fad a call, even begged him off air. 🙂 Nonetheless, Ange, will not be deterred no matter what and will press on with his plan to play with 3 at the back and attack an inferior Germany.. Good luck to the boys on Tuesday. I hope we can show the world we are no mugs or a third rate football nation and surprise a few critics around the world and here back home (me being one, with egg on my face after Tuesday). Good luck Ange, coaching staff, and the players.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 2:51am
          Fadida said | June 19th 2017 @ 2:51am | ! Report

          Ha! Nice one Fuss, though the official term is “Fifa playstation” I believe.

          The tactics are wrong. If you had any tactical insight you’d recognise that, rather than blindly following, though you do have previous with Holger.

          For the record, as I have said before, Ange is far from useles, but he has lost his way at the moment.

        • June 19th 2017 @ 7:47am
          Chris said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          Lucy Zelic gives me a headache every time she speaks

    • Roar Rookie

      June 18th 2017 @ 7:53pm
      Andre Leslie said | June 18th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

      Good analysis. It sure is getting to the business end of proceedings now in the qualifiers.

      It’s a shame we can’t watch more Asian qualifiers that don’t feature Australia on the pitch. Iraq v Japan in Tehran would have been fascinating. Or am I missing something on Fox Sports?

      • June 18th 2017 @ 9:36pm
        Mark said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

        I may be wrong, but I thought Fox only buy the rights to broadcast the Socceroos qualifiers, not all qualifiers

    • Roar Rookie

      June 19th 2017 @ 6:07am
      Stevo said | June 19th 2017 @ 6:07am | ! Report

      Enough gas bagging already troops! Time focus on the coming game in the wee hours. Chile has beaten Cameroon 2:0 with Vidal and Vargas scoring. Bring on the Germans and let’s watch the Roos give those guys a footballing lesson. In Ange we trust … and Juric, Timmy, Tommy, Mooysie, etc 🙂

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