The Caltex Socceroos clash with Saudi Arabia in June is the most crucial game of Australia’s World Cup qualifying campaign so far.
The Caltex Socceroos face Saudi Arabia in Adelaide on June 8. It’s the most crucial game of Australia’s World Cup qualifying campaign so far. And here’s why.
Group B Standings
- Goals Difference
As you can see, after seven games, the Caltex Socceroos are third in Group B.
Japan and Saudi Arabia both have 16 points, while Australia has 13.
There are three games to go, starting with the Saudis on June 8.
TOP TWO THE GOAL
The most crucial part to understanding the importance of this game is this: only the top two finishers in the group earn direct qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
If the Caltex Socceroos were to finish third in their group, they would face a further set of gruelling games to secure their place in Russia.
First, they would meet the third-place finisher in Group A (currently Uzbekistan) home and away.
If they emerged victorious, they would then play the fourth-place finisher in the CONCACAF group (currently USA), again over two legs.
Only after victory in that tie would they secure a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
It’s a long hard road, littered with obstacles and travel.
And there might not be anything at the end of it.
It’s a road the Caltex Socceroos would far prefer not to travel.
Finish in the top two, and they won’t have to.
THEY’LL KEEP HOLD OF THEIR OWN DESTINY
A loss or draw against Saudi Arabia would take control of grabbing a top-two spot out of Australia’s hands.
They would need to rely on Saudi Arabia slipping up in their last two matches.
But a win would take them level with Saudi Arabia on points, setting up a straight sprint to the finish line over the final two group games.
SAUDI ARABIA HAVE A SIMILAR RUN-IN
After hosting Saudi Arabia, the Caltex Socceroos will meet Japan away in Saitama on August 31.
They then complete group play back on home soil against Thailand five days later.
Saudi Arabia also face Japan, but crucially, they host that game.
Before that, they travel to the United Arab Emirates.
With Australia and Saudi Arabia having such similar finishes to their group campaigns, the result between the two becomes absolutely key.
MOMENTUM IS IMPORTANT
Following the game in Adelaide, the Caltex Socceroos meet Brazil in a friendly in Melbourne, then head to Russia for the Confederations Cup.
There, they’ll face stiff opposition in Germany, Cameroon and Chile.
They won’t want to head to the tournament off the back of a below-par performance.
A win over Saudi Arabia would springboard them nicely into the Confederations Cup and allow them to continue to build momentum for their remaining two World Cup qualifiers.
In short, this game could set them up for the rest of the year.
The Caltex Socceroos tackle Saudi Arabia in a crucial World Cup Qualifer in Adelaide on June 8. Click Here for Tickets
Source : Football Federation Australia