THERE could be shades of the famous victory against Uruguay in 2005 as the Socceroos’ World Cup dreams hinge on their final qualification match against Iraq on Tuesday 18 June at Stadium Australia.
There will be no penalty shootout like there was against Uruguay in 2005 – that was a one-off game and the Socceroos are now part of the Asian group format – however the match against Iraq will decide the fate of the Socceroos’ whole campaign.
It’s a simple scenario for the Socceroos: beat Iraq at Stadium Australia on Tuesday night and they can start making plans for Brazil in 2014. Their destiny is in their own hands.
Anything less than a win could leave them hanging on results of other matches, with third-placed Oman taking on Jordan in Jordan the same night.
A sea of gold and a sell-out crowd of more than 80,000 will greet the Socceroos Tuesday night as they chase a spot at World Cup Brazil, with the northern end of Stadium Australia packed with the new supproters’ group Terrace Australis.
The Socceroos were impressive against Jordan in Melbourne in their most recent outing – belting the visitors 4-0 after leading 1-0 at halftime.
Japan are already through to the World Cup, leading Group B in qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (on 14 points). The Socceroos are currently in second position in Group B on 10 points with Oman (9 points) in the crucial third spot and Jordan (7 points) needing a big finish at home against Oman.
The top two teams in the Asian qualifying group are guaranteed automatic qualification to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. If the Socceroos finish third in their group they will face a playoff against the third placed nation in the other Asian group, then a further playoff against the fifth placed South American nation.
The Socceroos haven’t been beaten on home soil since March 2009 and are hoping to continue the trend all the way to World Cup glory.