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Australia v Saudi Arabia World Cup Qualifier Tips and Predictions - Socceroos face must-win game

Gary Emmerson 6 Jun 2017
  • Australia sit three points behind opponents Saudi Arabia
  • A win for Saudi Arabia would all but guarantee automatic qualification for the World Cup
Tom Rogic in action against Saudi Arabia

Australia's Socceroos face one of the biggest games in recent years when they host Saudi Arabia in a crucial 2018 World Cup Qualifier at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos face a moment of truth when they host Saudi Arabia in a huge qualifier for the 2018 World Cup.

Australia sit third in the standings in Group B of the Asian qualifying, three points behind their opponents and top of the table Japan with only the top two automatically earning a place in next year's finals in Russia.

A defeat at home to Saudi Arabia would almost certainly leave Australia in third spot and facing a play-off, and would put the Gulf nation into the finals. 

With so much at stake it is no surprise them huge nature of this game despite both sides having two more games to play afterwards. With a trip to Japan to come, the Socceroos know how important Thursday's game is. 

The two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Jeddah in October, and it has been draws like that which has threatened to derail Australia's qualification hopes. 

The Socceroos may be the only unbeaten team in the group, but they have had to settle for a share of the points in four of the seven matches played, the stalemate with Saudi Arabia starting a run of four successive draws.

Saudi Arabia will be out to frustrate the Socceroos again and they are undoubtedly a hard team to break down having conceded just five goals in seven games during the campaign and take home crucial point or more. The question is: can they do it in Adelaide? 

Home advantage should be key and the game has the same feel as the 2013 night in Sydney when the Socceroos booked a place in the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil.

Team News


Mark Milligan misses the game for the Socceroos through suspension. Tom Rogic returns to the squad, while three uncapped players have been named in Dylan McGowan, Ajdin Hrustic and Danny Vukovic.

Saudi Arabia are without key midfielder Nawaf Al Abid and winger Fahad Al Muwallad.

Prediction and Tips


Expect Australia to get the job done, but it will be another tough night where patience will be key. 


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Australia v Saudi Arabia World Cup Qualifier Tips and Predictions - Socceroos face must-win game

Australia's Socceroos face one of the biggest games in recent years when they host Saudi Arabia in a crucial 2018 World Cup Qualifier at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

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