With the Socceroos facing their biggest World Cup qualifying challenge since Uruguay in 2005, the team have received an official boost. FIFA has confirmed that the nine players walking a suspension tight rope have been cleared due to exceptional circumstances. It comes on the back of Tim Cahill’s revelations that he is only an ‘outside chance’ of appearing in the first leg in Honduras. Milligan & Leckie out. Nine players cleared. Australia, already without the suspended Mathew Leckie and Mark Milligan for the first leg in San Pedro Sula, had a further nine players walking a tightrope, carrying yellow cards dating back to the Socceroos involvement in a long and arduous qualifying campaign since 2015. It was originally feared that the Socceroos already sitting on accumulated yellow cards — Tom Rogic, Mile Jedinak, Tomi Juric, Massimo Luongo, Josh Risdon, Ryan McGowan, Jackson Irvine and Milos Degenek — would all be at risk of suspension for the second leg in Sydney if they had been cautioned in the first game. However, in a breath of fresh air for the Socceroos, FIFA has confirmed that was no longer the case. FIFA has agreed that Australia’s claim that the “exceptional circumstances” of the intercontinental play-off should be taken into consideration. FIFA had previously announced that Honduras’ players have also had their yellow card record erased. Socceroos surprise favourites to qualify. Honduras a good value bet. Despite the multiple disruptions of the ongoing speculation regarding coach Ange Postecoglou’s future, Tim Cahill’s injury and the yellow card suspensions, Australia are $1.80 favourites with Sportsbet to qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup. If its value you want and you’re not bound by national allegiances, why not put a bet on the mighty Los Catrachos? Honduras, not without their own disruptions in the lead-up, offer extremely good value to qualify at $1.95 with Sportsbet.