The Road to Russia has opened in perfect fashion for the Socceroos with the Australian national side securing an emphatic 2-0 win over Iraq at nib Stadium.
It was exactly the start the Socceroos would have been hoping for as they embarked on the final phase of World Cup qualification.
Ange Postecoglou’s men ran the Iraq off their feet and applied constant pressure to eventually break through for two goals just before and just after the one hour mark. Midfielder Massimo Luongo slotted the first goal just minutes before Tomi Juric secured the 2-0 victory.
Winning on home soil is vital for all the teams competing to claim qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Australia’s national side will take a great deal of confidence from the victory and they will hope to make it two-from-two at home when the Socceroos play Japan at Etihad Stadium on October 11. Click here to purchase tickets.
The match at Etihad Stadium between Australia and Japan will be huge. The two sides have a very healthy rivalry and a long history of fantastic contests in key matches.
And if that isn’t enough, the plot is further thickened by Japan’s shock loss to the United Arab Emirates. Japan hosted the UAE at Saitama Stadium, but they were unable to turn their opening goal into a winning score and lost 1-2.
Matches between the Socceroos and Japan have become famous for being fiercely competitive and hard-fought. The Australian side registered its first ever World Cup victory in 2006 against the Samurai Blue, recording a dominant 3-1 win. The victory helped Australia to progress to the knock-out stage, sending Japan home winless.
Japanese side got revenge in 2007, booting Australia from the Asian Cup in a penalty shoot-out. The two were pitted against each other in the final of the 2011 Asian Cup final with Japan taking the points in extra time.
But before they get their chance at the Samurai Blue, the Socceroos will play away matches against the UAE on September 7 and Saudi Arabia on October 6.
The match against the UAE will be an enormous challenge for the Socceroos. The conditions in Abu Dhabi will be difficult with heat potentially a factor. The side is also facing a team that will be full of confidence returning from Japan with an unlikely victory.
With two tough away matches on the cards, the game at Etihad Stadium between Australia and Japan looks set to be crucial to qualification chances of both the Socceroos and Japan.
There is really nothing like being there to witness all the action live. Click here to buy your tickets to see the Socceroos take on Japan at Etihad Stadium on October 11.