Socceroos’ qualification hopes dealt a blow with surprise venue for Syrian ‘home’ match

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    The Socceroos’ path to the World Cup is about to get even tougher with next month’s qualifying play-off against Syria likely to be played in the Middle East – not in Malaysia.

    War-torn Syria has not played on home soil since 2010 and staged all of their third-round Asian qualifiers in Malaysia, where it was anticipated they would play host to Australia on October 5.

    But it’s understood there are moves being made by Syria’s football association to ensure the clash will be held in either Jordan, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates – instead of on Australia’s doorstep in south-east Asia.

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    Reports from overseas suggest Abu Dhabi is the frontrunner.

    Football Federation Australia is eagerly awaiting the venue announcement from the Asian Football Confederation, with official word expected in the next 24 hours.

    “We haven’t heard anything officially but we’re also watching to see when the venue will be confirmed,” FFA chief executive David Gallop told AAP.

    The return leg, on October 10, is locked in for ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

    The Socceroos have traditionally struggled in the Middle East and have won just two of their last five qualifiers in the region.

    However, the most recent win was one of Australia’s best performances in recent memory, beating the UAE 1-0 in steaming conditions in Abu Dhabi last November.

    The winner of the two-legged clash between Australia and Syria will take on North and Central America’s fourth-best team in another play-off for a spot at Russia 2018.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • September 11th 2017 @ 4:33pm
      Waz said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

      Well, we’ve been in trouble ever since our primary consideration was the quality of the pitch, the temperature, whether it would put the opposition off or not … how about we just breed footballers that can win on a bowling green or a cow paddock or heaven forbid, a desert pitch??

    • September 11th 2017 @ 4:43pm
      Newie said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

      I love the national team, but if we can’t get past Syria in a home and away tie, then we really don’t deserve to be going to the World Cup. No matter where the away leg is held. I think we’ll win both games. I’m not so confident about our CONCACAF opponents.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 4:53pm
      Nemesis said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

      Massive surprise to think we’d have to play the away match against a Middle Eastern nation in the Middle East.

      Simply outrageous.

      This could kill football in Australia… presuming it’s not yet dead.

      • September 13th 2017 @ 8:35am
        Gavin R said | September 13th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        Football died when we didn’t put 4 past Thailand. Expect record low crowds this season for the A League and pick up an NRL team to follow for when the A League goes belly up

        • September 13th 2017 @ 10:16am
          Nemesis said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

          Official confirmation from FIFA is pending, but the unofficial reports are the match will definitely be played in Malaysia.

          Looks like I won’t have to pick an NRL team to follow. Football might survive another 12 months.

        • September 13th 2017 @ 10:17am
          Sydneysider said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          Gavin, the NRL is also dying in Sydney, Super Rugby will be dead and buried in 2020, so we will all have to pick an AFL team to support come 2022.

          Expect record low crowds in the A-League this season, and a crowd of 5,000 for the Socceroos home fixture against Syria at Homebush.

          • September 13th 2017 @ 10:30am
            clipper said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            It’s interesting times indeed in Sydney – who could have foreseen league losing it’s dominant status 30 years ago? Pity about Rugby, but the constant tinkering with the Super Rugby format certainly hasn’t helped, low crowd and TV figures for Perth – hardly surprising after the Force fiasco.

            • September 13th 2017 @ 11:16am
              Sydneysider said | September 13th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              it’s great news isn’t it Clipper.

              Looking forward to receiving my South West Riverina/Penrith/Richmond/Campbelltown Nomads membership soon.

    • Roar Rookie

      September 11th 2017 @ 5:14pm
      Stevo said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

      Honestly, if we’re as good as we think we are then this poses no problem whatsoever. Over to the peanut gallery 🙂

    • September 11th 2017 @ 5:26pm
      bobbym said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

      Better for us less flying time out of Europe and Syria will have longer to fly to AUS – we are used to it they are not.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 6:48pm
      Craig said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

      If we cant beat Syria we don’t deserve to be in the world cup (and even if we do, we probably still don’t deserve to be there).

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