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Australia v Syria World Cup PlayOff Preview and Predictions - Socceroos to complete the job

Gary Emmerson 8 Oct 2017
  • Syria secured a 1-1 draw with a late penalty in the first leg
  • Australia have the away goal and are unbeaten in qualifying at home
  • Syria picked up just four points from 15 on the road in qualifying

Australia and Syria are level after the first leg of their World Cup Qualifier PlayOff with the Socceroos expecting to make home advantage count at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Tuesday night.

A 1-1 draw in the first leg leaves things slightly in Australia's favour courtesy of the away goal, and Ange Postecoglou's side are favourites to progress to another PlayOff.

The winner faces an Inter-Continental PlayOff showdown with a CONCACAF nation - most likely to be Panama or Honduras - in November for a place at the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.

Match Preview


Syria kept their World Cup dream firmly alive when coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the PlayOff in their home leg in Malaysia on Thursday night.

Robbie Kruse opened the scoring for Australia in the 40th minute in Melaka, but the Socceroos were made to pay for not taking their chances including when Tomi Juric struck the post twice within seconds early in the secong half.

Syria levelled the score six minutes from time when Mat Leckie fouled Omar Al Soma inside the penalty box and the striker tucked the resulting penalty past Mat Ryan.

Syria had further chances to win the game late, but the Socceroos withstood the pressure to return to Sydney with things level.

Australia now start the second leg as clear favourites and the greater depth in the Socceroos squad should serve them well at ANZ Stadium.

The Socceroos were unbeaten at home in qualifying, winning four games and dropping just two points from a draw with Japan, while Syria picked up just four points from five games away from home - although even home games were played on the road.

Team News


Australia have been forced into two changes to the 23-man squad from the first leg with goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and defender Bailey Wright both ruled out. Mark Birighitti and Ryan McGowan have been recalled in their place.

The Socceroos are expected to make a host of changes from the side which played in Malaysia with Postecoglou keen to inject some fresh legs following the exertions of travel and heat in Melaka.

Prediction and Tips


Just one of Syria's five away games during qualifying had more than a single goal and that points to the visitors setting out to frustrate Australia. They will likely play for time before seeking a late winner, but the Socceroos should grind them down.

It will be a nervy night if the Socceroos don't get an early goal, but they should progress and face another two-legged showdown to make the finals.


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Australia v Syria World Cup PlayOff Preview and Predictions - Socceroos to complete the job

Australia and Syria are level after the first leg of their World Cup Qualifier PlayOff with the Socceroos expecting to make home advantage count at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Tuesday night.

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