Australia face a must win game in their final qualification game of their Asian qualifying section. The top two teams from the group qualify and right now Australia are in third place, with one game to go. They know that if Saudi Arabia beat Japan then they will finish third, leaving them in a situation where they need to play in a playoff against a team from Group A, before playing another playoff against a team from the CONCACAF region.
World Cup Qualifiers – Tuesday 5th September / 11:00
However, there is a much better scenario for them, if they can overtake Saudi Arabia by winning this game and hoping Saudi Arabia drop points, then they will finish second in the group. That second place finish would mean automatic qualification to the world cup, something they are desperate for.
Thailand have done well to get to this stage of the qualification process but ultimately they have been outclassed in a number of their games. They are bottom of the group with just two points and are yet to win, hopefully they can take something away from this experience to make them stronger next time.
A 2-0 defeat to Japan last week saw Australia move into the position they are in right now and they will have been very disappointed with the way they played in that game. That was their big opportunity to keep the qualification race tight, with three teams looking for two spots but the loss meant Japan qualified and took one of the spots.
Prior to their loss in Japan, Australia had shown good home form, beating Saudi Arabia 3-2 and UAE 2-0 both at home. It has been there away form that has cost them in this qualifying group, and if they don’t make it to Russia that will be the area they must focus on going into their next tournament.
The loss to Japan was their first loss of the tournament, but picking up four draws has been their downfall.
Thailand performed very well in the previous round of qualifying and they topped their group, which included Iraq, a team who have since gone on to top Group A at this stage and book their place at Russia 2018.
However, they haven’t performed to the same level in this round and ultimately that have been outclassed by their superior opposition.
The tournament will have been a great learning curve for them, despite only picking up two draws at this stage and if this game goes the way it should, they will remain winless this time around. Their two points have come in draws against the UAE and Australia, todays opponent, so they will head into this game with nothing to prove and a small amount of belief.
The experienced pair of Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak continue to lead Australia, and yet again during qualifying they have been very important. The new kid on the block in Australian football is midfielder Tom Rogic who currently plays for Celtic in Scotland, He attacks and scores a lot of goals from midfield and he is going to have to lead this team at some point when some of the older legs retire.
Thailand could name anyone to play in this game, and hopefully they will give a handful of youngsters the opportunity to play and learn something. Teerasil Dangda is their most experienced attacking player and he will be the one who causes Australia a threat in this game.
Top Betting Tips
Australia are huge favourites to win this game and it will be a massive upset if they can’t beat Thailand on home soil with so much at stake. With the potential to qualify for the next World Cup in Russia, I am convinced that Australia will win this game comfortably, before hoping that Japan can hold Saudi Arabia later the same day.
The win market offers little value in this game so I am going to have a bet on the handicap market and I think Australia are more than capable of clearing the -3 handicap which is on offer with most bookmakers. Australia can be backed -3 at 23/20 with Skybet a fair price for a team that will be going all out to put down a marker in an attempt to claim their spot at Russia 2018.
With everything to play for, I am backing the Australian side to be far too strong for the Thailand team who will head out to Australia with nothing to play for other than pride.