NewsCO.com.au – How the Socceroos can qualify for the World Cup

August 30, 2017

It’s crunch time for the Socceroos as they prepare for two crucial matches that will decide their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

First up it’s a battle of the Asian heavyweights against Japan at the intimidating Saitama Stadium on Thursday, before a seemingly softer fixture against Thailand at Melbourne’s AAMI Park five days later.

Japan currently lead group B on 17 points (+9 goal difference), with Saudi Arabia (+6) and Australia (+6) on 16 points – split only by goals scored with the Saudis having played one more match.

The tiebreakers for teams finishing level on points are: goal difference, goals scored, head-to-head result, head-to-head goal difference, head-to-head goals scored, away goals, discipline record and drawing lots

The top two in the group automatically qualify for Russia, while third position must play a two-leg playoff against the No.3 in group A (currently Uzbekistan), before taking on the fourth-placed team in CONCACAF (currently Panama) over two home-and-away matches to qualify.

The crucial fixtures are:

– Aug 31: Japan v Australia

– Sep 5: Thailand v Australia

– Sep 6: Saudi Arabia v Japan

This is what the situation looks like for the Socceroos:

SOCCEROOS WIN BOTH MATCHES – 22 POINTS

Australia will be guaranteed World Cup qualification – leaving Saudi Arabia and Japan to fight for the last automatic position in Jeddah on the last matchday.

 

SOCCEROOS DRAW AND WIN – 20 POINTS

 Australia will be guaranteed World Cup qualification because both Saudi Arabia and Japan play each other on the final matchday and only one can finish higher.

 

SOCCEROOS LOSE AND WIN – 19 POINTS

Australia’s qualification hopes in this scenario will depend on whether the victory is against Japan or Thailand and the Blue Samurai’s match against Saudi Arabia.

 

For Australia to qualify automatically:

– They need to defeat Japan

– If the victory is against Thailand, they need Japan to defeat Saudi Arabia or the match be a draw

 

A tiebreaker will decide if Australia qualify automatically:

– If the victory is against Thailand and Saudi Arabia defeat Japan (Australia and Saudi to finish on same points).

 

SOCCEROOS DRAW BOTH MATCHES – 18 POINTS

Japan will be guaranteed to finish on at least the same amount of points as Australia, and the green and gold will rely on the Japanese and Saudi match to determine whether qualification will be automatic or through the playoffs.

 

For to Australia to qualify automatically, they will need:

– Japan to defeat Saudi Arabia or the match be a draw

A tiebreaker will decide if Australia qualify automatically if:

– Saudi Arabia defeat Japan (Australia and Japan to finish on same points).

 

SOCCEROOS DRAW AND LOSE – 17 POINTS

These results would make automatic qualification for Australia quite difficult.

 

For Australia to qualify automatically they will need:

– Japan to defeat Saudi Arabia

A tiebreaker will decide if Australia qualify automatically if:

– Saudi Arabia draw against Japan (Australia and Saudi to finish on same points).

 

SOCCEROOS LOSE BOTH MATCHES – 16 POINTS

The only way Australia can qualify automatically under this scenario is if they win the tiebreaker after Saudi Arabia lose against Japan.

 

NOTE: UAE can mathematically still reach the playoff qualifying position but need to win against Iraq, plus make up a minimum eight goals in goal difference on the teams above.

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