The Socceroos failed to progress in the group stage of their World Cup Qualifiers and now enter the Fourth Round of qualification if they want to make it to Russia 2018.
If the Socceroos can get past Syria in the next two weeks they will face the fourth placed team from the CONCACAF region in home and away matches in November. Currently that team is the United States, with Honduras and Panama also possible opponents with two games to play.
Where is the match played?
Because of the civil unrest in Syria this match will be played in Malaysia at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Krubong. The weather for Thursday’s match will be very hot and humid with possible thunderstorms. At kick-off it will still be between 28 and 30 degrees.
Australia have played 5 away games in Asia during group qualification for 1 win against U.A.E (0-1), 3 draws against Saudi Arabia (2-2), Iraq (1-1) and Thailand (2-2) and a recent loss against Japan (2-0). They were exposed in the heat against Thailand in Bangkok.
Who did Syria play before they faced Australia?
Syria were in Group A of qualification and faced Iran, Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, China PR and Qatar. They won 2 of their ‘home’ matches against Qatar (3-1) and Uzbekistan (1-0) and drew with Korea Republic (0-0), Iran (0-0) and China PR (2-2).
Syria also played a recent friendly against Japan in which they drew 1-1. Whilst Japan did not field a top strength squad in the match it does give an indication of a common opponent that they have shared with the Socceroos.
What do the Socceroos need to improve on to defeat Syria?
CONCENTRATE It may sound like a strange thing to say but Australia were caught ball watching when Thailand scored against them in their last match and Syria has scored in the 90th minute in their last three matches. They just don’t give up and a draw could easily become a shock loss if Australia aren’t focused for the full 90 minutes.
Syria are a very patient team and they have showed this in qualifying, taking the draw when they needed it and been content to give up possession and favour a defensive structure with counter attacks.
What do Syria need to do to defeat the Socceroos?
WAIT FOR OPPORTUNITIES Australia has enjoyed slightly more possession of the football against most of their group opponents, but they only really dominated the ball against Thailand in their last match. The thing is it hasn’t really mattered. The results have in no way favoured the team with the most possession.
In their loss against Japan, Australia had 65% of possession and lost 2-0. Syria needs to focus on defence and not conceding and be confident that they can get past the Australia defence on the counter attack. Plenty of other teams have scored against the Socceroos.
FACT: Australia have conceded in 11 of their last 12 games in both World Cup Qualification and the Confederations Cup.
Australia have been given some great opportunities to progress to the next stage of qualification with Syria as their opponent. Firstly they have their ‘away’ tie first meaning they can afford to sit back a little bit and any goal they score is a bonus. Even a draw would be a pass mark knowing that they will return to a packed stadium in Sydney for the return leg. Secondly their ‘away’ location is in a neutral country. Realistically the stadium just won’t be full of Syrian supporters.
There are very real concerns about the Australian defence that has leaked goals right through World Cup Qualification and the Confederations Cup against all levels of opposition from Germany to Thailand. In attack we have some stars but haven’t put a dominant winning performance together.
Even against Thailand where we needed to score big to qualify outright, Australia had 45 shots (13 on target) for only 2 goals. This isn’t a Socceroos fan site so let’s be realistic. Australia will likely qualify against Syria with a draw and a win at home but they will struggle to defeat the CONCACAF qualifier and qualify for the World Cup.
Syria at $4.80
Draw at $3.40
Socceroos at $1.80
Outright: Draw at $3.40
Correct Score: Draw 1-1 at $6.00
Other Bets: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.94
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