It’s official. The Socceroos have missed out on direct qualification to the World Cup.
Australia managed to record a 2-1 win over Thailand in Melbourne on Tuesday night, which was enough to move them to equal points with Saudi Arabia in their group.
On Wednesday morning, Australia needed a big favour from Japan – either a win or a draw – in order to secure second place.
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But Saudi substitute Fahad Al-Muwallad’s 63rd-minute goal shattered that dream, leaving Ange Postecoglou’s men needing to win two difficult home-and-away ties to ensure a place at Russia 2018.
Australia now move through to the fourth round of the Asian section of qualifying.
This is a play-off in early October between the two third placed teams from groups A and B (Australia’s group).
There are two matches, one home and one away, to determine who advances to the inter-confederation play-offs.
Syria is currently third in group A and assuming the results of that group’s final matches go as expected, that won’t change and they will play Australia in October.
If the Socceroos win, they would then move onto the inter-confederation play-offs.
This would be a two-match event starting in early November against the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF.
That team is currently Honduras but there are quite a few matches still to come in that group. The United States and Panama are also around the mark.
The winning country of this play-off is then through to Russia.