With Japan safely through to the World Cup, the Socceroos face Thailand at AAMI Park in Melbourne with their qualification campaign precariously balanced. Sitting level with Saudi Arabia on 16 points, Australia is bumped to third on goal difference (+6 to +4).
Australia will need to win by at least +3 and hope that Saudi Arabia lose or draw or if Saudi Arabia win, make up whatever their goal difference is over Japan +3 to take second position. Keep in mind that if we lose this match we still move through to the play-off round, it’s just that we don’t qualify automatically.
When: Tuesday 5th September.
Watch: 9 Two and Fox Sports HD.
Japan attacked from the outset in front of a vocal sell out crowd that had worked itself into a frenzy. The Australian defence was exposed when Takuma Asano strolled through the defence and scored after Brad Smith left him unmarked to make it 1-0.
Whilst Australia had chances in the second half the second goal for Japan was an absolute classic. Reminiscent of Aaron Mooy’s goal in the Premier League against Newcastle without the one-two to create space, Ideguchi made his own space before smashing the ball past the defence and Matt Ryan to seal the win 2-0.
Thailand lost 2-1 to Iraq in Bangkok with the War Elephants not scoring a goal directly off their own boot. An own goal in the second half was poked in by an Iraqi defender although if it had gone across the box there was a Thai player running at the far post who would’ve likely scored.
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED
THAILAND 2 (Dangda 20, 57) v AUSTRALIA 2 (Jedinak 9P, 65P)
In sweltering conditions Australia took the early lead when Matthew Leckie’s shot was ‘saved’ by a Thai defender using his hands and not his feet (1-0). Thailand bounced the ball behind the Socceroos defence before a low cross to Dangda who found the back of the net (1-1). A contentious penalty gave Dangda his second goal (2-1) and minutes later Jedinak was brought down in the box and converted another penalty (2-2).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Thailand will not be an easy win
The War Elephants had their chances to win the game against the Socceroos and as long as they are patient in defence they will have their opportunities knowing that Australia need to score. There is no motivation for Thailand to make this a goal-fest. They know Australia’s game plan and the longer the Socceroos take to score the more confident Thailand will feel. It is all about keeping that control.
2. Australia were exposed multiple times in their last game
The Australian defence was exposed against Japan last week and it was a similar story against Thailand in their first game with their attack playing the ball behind the Australian defence to create opportunities.
3. How will Australia approach this game?
With Aaron Mooy returning to training after illness ruled him out of their match against Japan, the Huddersfield Town midfielder has huge pressure on him as the Socceroos best player.
There is no reward for winning 1-0 or 2-0. Expect the Socceroos to not come out of the gate at a frenetic pace but rather work their way into the game. There is plenty of time over 90 minutes to score the goals needed and they can’t afford to go behind to a Thai counter attack.
FINAL SAY: There was nothing really surprising about the Socceroos loss to Japan. We called it in last weeks Best Bets. This World Cup qualification campaign has stuttered along with no momentum and the realisation that we may miss out on the World Cup entirely is simply a conclusion of our own making.
The Socceroos will likely win as a result of being highly motivated and the conditions that will be bitterly cold and possibly wet and windy favouring our players.
Punters would do well to keep in mind that Australia has been trying to score in every single World Cup Qualifier in this campaign and there is no evidence to suggest that they will flick a switch and suddenly score 4+ against Thailand.
TIP: Match Total Goals – Under 4.5 ($1.65)
Value TIP: Correct Score – Australia 3-1 ($10.00)
— The-AFC.com (@theafcdotcom) September 5, 2017
Tips and Preview from CrownBet.com.au. Read more about CrownBet HERE.