Socceroos Set For A Swordfight

Source: AAP/
Tim Cahill has been in sparkling form for the New York Red Bulls. Image courtesy of
Australia’s World Cup hopes don’t exactly go on the line against Japan in Saitima on Tuesday night (AEST), but a positive result of some sort would certainly make the Socceroos job of automatic qualification a lot easier than it currently is. A congested table sees Australia in third spot, a point behind Jordan, albeit with a game in hand. Oman is equal with Holger Osieck’s team while Iraq lurks just one point in arrears, also with a game in hand on the rest of Group B.

The Socceroos finish the group stage with home matches against Jordan and Iraq, but as was shown in the 2-2 draw with Oman in Sydney in March, nothing can be taken for granted. There have already been rumours floating around that Osieck may not survive if there is a disastrous result against the Blue Samurai.

Japan went down 2-0 last start against Bulgaria in a friendly, but Alberto Zaccheroni’s squad has swept all before it in the qualifiers so far. The Asian powerhouse has won all three of its home matches, including a 6-0 hammering of Jordan.

The teams played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in Brisbane 12 months ago, but Japan won the previous encounter 1-0 at the 2011 Asian Cup. On both occasions the score was 0-0 at half-time , as has been the case four of the last five times the teams have met.

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