Can Australia Still Qualify for the World Cup?
Due to Australia’s 2-0 loss to Asian Group B table-toppers Japan in August, the Socceroos are no longer the masters of their own World Cup destiny.
The chances of Australia making it to the finals in Russia next summer are still good, but Ange Postecoglou and his men will be relying on other results to go in their favour in order to clinch second place and automatic qualification.
Australia’s final group game is against Thailand at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, and bookies are favouring the men from down under to easily prevail at home to Milovan Rajevac’s charges. In fact, the Socceroos can be backed at $1.05 to claim the three points on Tuesday. Australia certainly need to make amends for the dismal 2-2 draw against Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium in November of last year, but on home turf a comprehensive win is likely.
Postecoglou needs to go for a rout of Thailand to ensure automatic qualification. As it stands, the Socceroos are level on points with Saudi Arabia, but Bert van Marwijk’s side have a superior goal difference by two goals.
Saudi Arabia are coming up against Japan at home in their final fixture, but the Group B winners will prove a stern test, having only lost once in the qualifying stages. Marwijk’s side will no doubt go out all guns blazing, but the odds are still in Japan’s favour with bet365 placing Vahid Halilhodzic’s side at $2.75 to claim the three points.
If Australia beat or draw against Thailand and Saudi Arabia lose, the Socceroos can start planning for another fight in the ultimate tournament. If the worst case scenario comes to fruition and Saudi Arabia win with a better goal difference than Australia, then Postecoglou’s charges will have to battle through the playoffs to make it to Russia.