Match preview: United Arab Emirates v Australia #AFCAsianCup2019


The Socceroos will be up against the weight of home support when they meet the United Arab Emirates in the Quarter Finals of AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ on Saturday morning (AEDT).

Al Ain will again be the scene as Australia attempt to build on their nail-biting shootout triumph against Uzbekistan, which came after 120 minutes of heavy possession and perspiration.

Mat Ryan shone with two superb spot-kick saves and Graham Arnold has expressed confidence in his players’ ability to back up from that match.

He will, however, be forced to compensate for the absence of a suspended key man for a do-or-die encounter that is simply not to be missed.

Where and when

Date: Saturday, January 26 (AEDT)

Venue: Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain

Kick-off: 3:00am (AEDT)

Socceroos squad news

Socceroos boss Arnold will have to make do without Tom Rogic after the influential playmaker picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Uzbekistan.

Massimo Luongo could come in if Jackson Irvine is asked to plug the hole, while Mathew Leckie is also likely to come under consideration for a starting berth.

The Hertha Berlin winger returned from a hamstring injury last time out and appeared free of any discomfort throughout an encouraging cameo that ended with him stroking home the winning penalty.

Fellow forwards Robbie Kruse and Apostolos Giannou were also on target from 12 yards as Arnold’s substitutes all made contributions to the cause.

Andrew Nabbout, meanwhile, is continuing his recovery from a groin problem and may soon be ready to add extra depth to the exciting attacking options.

Andrew Nabbout
Andrew Nabbout

Current AFC rankings

Australia: 2

UAE: 8

Final word

Prevailing on penalties against a disciplined and defensive Uzbekistan will have reinforced the Socceroos’ belief they can emerge victorious from high-pressure situations.

That will need to be the case once more on Saturday morning (AEDT) with host nation UAE certain to enjoy fervent support.

An in-form Ryan certainly plays in Australia’s favour and the gun goalkeeper takes two clean sheets in his last three outings into the next assignment.

Another in Al Ain would go a long way to securing the team’s passage into the Semi Finals.


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

‘We’ve got a good vibe going’: Leckie buzzing ahead of Socceroos’ date with UAE


A “fresh” Mat Leckie says the Socceroos’ gripping penalty shootout win has bought the tight-knit squad even closer together ahead of Saturday’s (AEDT) AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ Quarter Final against the United Arab Emirates.

Graham Arnold’s side booked their spot in the last eight thanks to their thrilling 4-2 shootout win over Uzbekistan on Tuesday (AEDT).

Leckie played a significant role in the victory, slotting the winning spot-kick after keeper Mat Ryan had made two incredible saves.

And with another huge clash against the tournament’s host nation to come in the early hours of Saturday morning (AEDT), the speedy attacker says the manner of Round of 16 victory has left a very positive feeling in the camp.

“We’ve got a good vibe going after the last game. It was a great game and obviously a special finish,” Leckie told

“It’s always exciting penalty shootouts and the fact we ended up winning, it brought us closer together.”

Leckie added: “Since I’ve been here in the national team there hasn’t been any penalty shootouts so it was new for a lot of us.

“I think the boys that took their penalties did really well. The focus to be calm in that situation, we did really well.

“We went behind in the shootout but Maty [Ryan] did a great job to get us back into it and the boys did well to finish it off.

“It’s a nervous moment for every player but it’s just about being mentally strong and getting the job done.”

The Uzbekistan clash was Leckie’s first appearance of the tournament, having missed the entire group stage as he recovered from a hamstring injury.

Mathew Leckie celebrates the winning penalty against Uzbekistan

The Socceroos medical staff did a superb job nursing the Hertha Berlin winger back to full fitness and Leckie was able to play almost an hour off the bench at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium.

With playmaker Tom Rogic suspended for the UAE clash, Leckie is one of a host of options for Arnold to fill the void.

“I feel good. I wasn’t expecting to play [60 minutes] but it ended up working out like that,” Leckie said.

“I was a bit sore after the game, being out for a few weeks, but with the recovery we’ve done, and we’ve been really focused on that, I’m feeling really good again.

“I’m feeling fresh so if I am most of the boys are. We’ll be buzzing for the game.”

The Socceroos get underway against UAE at 3am (AEDT) on Saturday and you can catch all the action live on FOX SPORTS 505.

You can also see all the goals and follow the game from Al Ain in our live match blog on


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

Your Ultimate Guide to United Arab Emirates v Socceroos


And then there were eight. The Socceroos shootout triumph over Uzbekistan on Tuesday morning (AEDT) has earned Graham Arnold’s side a thrilling Quarter Final shot at hosts United Arab Emirates in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.

On another day, Australia’s attacking philosophy – which brought six goals in the group stage – would surely have paid dividends, with more than 60% of possession and 17 shots seeing them through in the regulation 90 minutes.

But a combination of good defending and a fine performance from Uzbek goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov led to a nerve-shredding shootout that made standout stars of Mat Ryan and a fit-again Mathew Leckie, who netted the vital winning spot-kick.

Now the Socceroos’ attention turns to the hosts, who reached the last eight courtesy of a 3-2 win over the Kyrgyz Republic on Tuesday morning (AEDT).

Build Up

Having finished the group stage with confidence-boosting wins over Palestine (3-0) and a dogged Syria (3-2), Australia faced another free-scoring side in Uzbekistan in the Round of 16.

In the event, two of the highest scoring sides in the competition battled out an absorbing 0-0 draw, before two fine saves from Mat Ryan paved the way for a 4-2 win in the shootout, capped by Leckie’s decisive spot-kick.

There is sure to be a full house at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, as the host nation face the Socceroos, but belief is running high for the Green and Gold.

Squad news

The Socceroos reported a clean bill of health after the tense victory over Uzbekistan, but will go into the Quarter Final without playmaker Tom Rogic, who picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the Round of 16 match.

Mat Leckie returned from a hamstring injury to make his first appearance at this year’s Asian Cup in the last round, and his presence added a spark to Australia’s forward play.

The winger, who plays his club football in Germany with Hertha Berlin, played for almost an hour against Uzbekistan, and was a calm presence as he fired home the crucial spot-kick to take the Socceroos through to the last eight. He is likely to figure in Graham Arnold’s plans as the manager looks to outsmart the UAE.

The dependable Mark Milligan has been outstanding so far, and led the way by scoring Australia’s first in the shootout.

Confidence will be high for forwards Robbie Kruse and Apostolos Giannou, who were also on target from 12 yards, while further good news for Arnold’s striking options comes with the revelation that Andrew Nabbout is recovering well from a groin problem.

Elsewhere, Josh Risdon – who went off at half-time with a groin injury in the tournament’s opening match against Jordan – is available again after being named among the substitutes against Uzbekistan in the last round.

Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

Opposition confirmed: Socceroos to face UAE in Quarter Finals

After emerging victorious from a gripping encounter against Uzbekistan, the Socceroos will face hosts the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, 26 January 2019 at 3am (AEDT) in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Quarter Finals.

Graham Arnold’s men got the job done over the White Wolves via a 4-2 win on penalties after the game had remained locked at nil-all for 120 minutes.

Australia enjoyed the majority of possession, but were unable to break through as Tom Rogic, Rhyan Grant, Apostolos Giannou and Mat Leckie were all denied in the second half.

Australia’s two Mathews then came to the fore for the Socceroos — goalkeeper Maty Ryan produced two stunning saves to keep out Uzbekistan, while the returning Mat Leckie held his nerve on the fifth penalty to bury Uzbekistan and catapult the Socceroos to the Quarter Finals.

Standing in Australia’s way of a Semi-Finals berth are the hosts UAE who narrowly beat Kyrgyz Republic 3-2 in extra-time.

Mark Milligan
Captain Mark Milligan thanking fans following the Socceroos’ win over Uzbekistan.

The UAE conceded an injury-time equaliser to take the game to extra-time, before Alberto Zaccheroni’s men eventually sealed the win.

United Arab Emirates v Australia
Date: Friday, 25 January 2019
Venue: Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 8:00pm (local); 3:00am (AEDT – Saturday, 26 January 2019)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS 505

( Featured Image courtesy of the Asian Football Confederation)

Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation WEBSITE

Match preview: Socceroos v Uzbekistan


Having finished the group stage on a strong note, the Socceroos head into their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ Round of 16 clash against Uzbekistan in a do-or-die encounter.

Australia bounced back from their opening fixture to score six goals in two games, putting three goals past Palestine and Syria apiece and sealing their progression to the knockout stage.

Tom Rogic was the hero for the Green and Gold against Syria, firing an injury-time rocket past Syria’s keeper to seal all three points for the Socceroos.

Embedded video

We demand an investigation into how good of a strike this was from Tom Rogic 😎

While a draw would have been enough for Australia to progress, the win was a just reward and epitomises the attacking philosophy Graham Arnold has introduced to the Socceroos.

Standing in Australia’s way is an Uzbekistan outfit that finished second in Group B following their 2-1 loss to Japan on Friday morning AEDT.

Where and when

Australia v Uzbekistan
 Monday, 21 January 2019
Venue: Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 6:00pm (local); 1:00am (AEDT – Tuesday, 22 January 2019)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS

Socceroos squad news

All signs are promising after the Socceroos came out unscathed in their win against Syria on Wednesday morning AEDT. That, along with their six-day gap between games, means Arnold’s side will be raring to go come Tuesday morning AEDT against Uzbekistan.

Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis have had a tournament to remember thus far, with Mabil grabbing two goals, and Ikonomidis bagging a goal and four assists.

The midfield haven’t been too far behind, oozing strength and guile in the form of Massimo Luongo, Jackson Irvine and Tom Rogic. The Celtic midfielder has been particularly impressive with one goal and two assists in three games.

At the back, Milligan’s transition to centre-back in the absence of Trent Sainsbury has highlighted the versatility of Arnold’s outfit. Though that versatility may not be called upon as Sainsbury is once more available for selection following his one-game suspension for an accruement of yellow cards.

Current AFC Rankings

Australia:     2
Uzbekistan: 14

Final word

Earlier in the week, Mabil iterated ‘the best is yet to come’ for Graham Arnold’s firing Socceroos.

And why would anyone bet against that? Australia have looked stronger as each game has passed, revealing a new bow in their string every time they take to the field.

Arnold brought a relatively young side to the United Arab Emirates, but already it is paying dividends with new stars emerging and familiar faces taking their game to another gear.

Mabil and Ikonomidis have headlined this youthful exuberance, but take nothing away from the likes of Rhyan Grant and Jamie Maclaren who are getting their chance to shine too.

Of course, the Socceroos can ill afford to get complacent as every game at this stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ brings its own challenges. However, with the forwards firing on all cylinders and the backline looking increasingly cohesive, it’s hard not to back Australia putting in a top-drawer performance against Uzbekistan.

The Socceroos take on Uzbekistan at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 1:00am AEDT. The game will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS 505.


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

The Equation: Socceroos await Round of 16 opponent at AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™


The Socceroos are through! Wednesday morning’s (AEDT) thrilling 3-2 win over Syria means Graham Arnold’s men have finished in second spot in Group B. 

Goals for Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis either side of the break, followed by Tom Rogic’s stoppage-time winner made it two wins from three for Australia to move into the knockout phase. Jordan topped the group on seven points following their goalless draw with Palestine.

How things stand

Following the final round of fixtures, the Group B ladder is so:

  1. Jordan – 7 points
  2. Australia – 6 points
  3. Palestine – 2 points
  4. Syria – 1 point

What’s next?

With their Round of 16 berth secured, the Socceroos now await who they will face in the first knockout match.

As runners-up in Group B, Australia will take on the second-place getter in Group F.

That will either be Uzbekistan or Japan, who meet in a shootout for top spot in their group early on Friday morning (AEDT).

If Uzbekistan avoids defeat against the Samurai Blue, the Socceroos will take on Japan in the last 16, but a win by the Japanese would see Australia face the Uzbeks.

In a bonus for Australia, they will play their Round of 16 tie at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, the same venue as the win over Syria.

The Round of 16 clash will be played on Tuesday, January 22 (AEDT), kicking off at 1am.

The Socceroos will take on either Japan or Uzbekistan on Tuesday, January 22 at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium. Kick-off is at 1am AEDT and will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505.


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE

Social media reacts to the Socceroos’ last-gasp victory over Syria


The Socceroos booked a spot in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ knockout stages on Wednesday morning (AEDT) following a dramatic 3-2 victory over Syria, with the thrilling contest in Al Ain providing plenty of talking points.

Stunning strikes from Awer Mabil and Tom Rogic, plus a second international goal from Chris Ikonomidis and some world-class goalkeeping from Mat Ryan, saw the Socceroos claim all three points. Our Round of 16 opponents – the runners-up from Group F – will be determined when Japan plays Uzbekistan in the early hours of Friday morning (AEDT).

Here’s how social media reacted to Australia’s thrilling win over Syria.

They have seen a lot of great football over at Fox Sports, but even they were impressed with Awer Mabil’s opening hit, while the official AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ account enjoyed the young winger’s subsequent celebrations.

Grabbing much of the attention of observers was goalscorer Mabil, who dedicated his strike to those suffering with mental health issues.

Meanwhile, over in clubland, we saw some very proud responses to players’ performances.

And there was plenty of excitement from the fans after Australia got the result to send them to the knockout phase of the tournament.

The last word goes to Australia’s Commissioner General to Expo 2020 Dubai, Justin McGowan, who sang the praises of the loyal Socceroos’ supporters cheering the team on in the United Arab Emirates.


Source : Socceroos WEBSITE