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The Socceroos will want to get their World Cup Qualifying campaign back on track as they go up against China at Sharjah Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores of this important match from 2am (AEDT).
While they are strong favourites to pick up the win, a loss and a draw in their past two qualifiers have left the Socceroos in second place in the group and only one point ahead of Japan.
When these two sides met in September earlier this year the Socceroos won comfortably 3-0 in Doha and they will be hoping for a similarly solid win this time around. Unfortunately that has been made harder as a result of some key players being unavailable. Graham Arnold is without Aaron Mooy, Adam Taggart, Tom Rogic and Harry Souttar with the big central defender suffering a knee injury in the recent game against Saudi Arabia.
Arnold will have been pleased with how his side dominated the match against Saudi Arabia but will have been frustrated that again his side struggled to create enough clear chances on goal – something that caused them issues in their 1-2 loss to Japan as well.
Although there’s still half of the qualifying campaign left to play, a loss now would likely see Australia drop down to third in the group and out of the two automatic qualification spots. If they can’t get out of that third place then they would have to play against the third place team from the other Asian group and then try and win their way through an intercontinental play off to reach the World Cup in Qatar next year. There are plenty of stumbling blocks on that path and so three points from this match will be invaluable.
It was disappointing for the Socceroos to break their world record setting 11 straight victories in a single World Cup qualifying campaign, but Arnold is still confident that his side are playing well and will get the results they need.
“We’ve been playing great. All the statistics show that,” Arnold said in the pre match press conference. “It’s now all about finishing off 2021 with a great performance tomorrow night, having a great Christmas and then moving forward.”
China have struggled this campaign and both the domestic and international football scene in the country is under a great deal of pressure with that pressure impacting the way the national team have performed. Having to play away from home is having its own impact understandably and the Chinese will want to present a much more organised approach compared to their recent matches.
Venue: Sharjah Stadium, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 2:00 am (AEDT), Wednesday 17th November 2021
Broadcast: Channel 10
Live stream: 10 Play app and website
Betting: China $9.40, Australia $1.31 – odds via PlayUp
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