JULY 15 2017 – 5:52PM
Australia’s World Cup qualifying fate will be sealed at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, which has been confirmed as the venue for their last qualifier on the road to Russia.
The Socceroos will play Thailand on September 5 at the 30,500-capacity venue.
The last of 10 group-stage matches will determine whether Australia qualify directly for the 2018 tournament or are forced into a dreaded multi-leg play-off.
With two pool matches remaining, the third-placed Socceroos are locked in a group B battle with leaders Japan and Saudi Arabia for two World Cup spots.
Third place would result in a home-and-away contest with another Asian nation and, if successful, a two-leg clash with a North or Central American opponent.
“The next two matches in this campaign are extremely important for us,” Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said on Saturday.
“We are focused on two strong performances beginning with the challenge in Japan.
“A capacity stadium in Melbourne supporting the team will be fantastic.”
The ground is the smaller of three potential venues in Melbourne for the clash but fits within Postecoglou’s preference to play matches on good pitches – rather than at large arenas.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said the match would be pivotal.
“This match could very well be one of those ‘where were you?’ moments,” he said.
The Socceroos were last in action last month at the Confederations Cup.
Postecoglou’s side drew 1-1 with Chile and Cameroon, and lost 3-2 to eventual champions Germany.
Source : The Canberra Times