In their quest for World Cup qualification Group B is shaping as a lot tougher that initially though for the Socceroos. They got off to a perfect start with wins in their opening two matches but back to back draws against Saudi Arabia (away) and Japan (home) has relegated them to second in the group.
If Australia are to gain automatic qualification they cannot afford to drop any points in the two matches against Thailand. The squad has had a full week in Bangkok to prepare for the match and it will have also given them ample time to acclimatise to the hot and humid conditions. The first 15 minutes holds the key and the Aussie will look to set the platform early and control possession.
The Socceroos first half performance against Japan was poor to say the least and it is something that Ange Postecoglou addressed immediately after the match. They cannot afford a similar start in this one, especially away from home. Postecoglou has made several changes to his squad that include the absence of Tim Cahill. He has been left out by the manager who has highlighted that it is more important for Tim to maintain match fitness by playing in the A-League rather than being interrupted by extended travel.
Tomi Juric, Massimo Luongo and goalkeeper Mitch Langerak are also unavailable. They have been replaced by Giannou, Birighitti and A-League duo Luke Brattan (Melb City) and Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane).
The absence of Luongo means that we will see Leckie injected into the starting line up along side Mooy and Rogic with Jedinak used in his usual role in front of the back four. Midfield has been a real strength for the Socceroos and will again be the difference in this one.
Rogic and Mooy have been in outstanding for their respective clubs and The Wolf again expects them to lead the way. Thailand will no doubt be up for this one and it will be an emotional atmosphere following the passing of their King. They won’t be leaving anything in the locker room and despite the tough playing conditions the Socceroos will have to score twice if they are to claim all 3 points.
Best: Over 2.5 goals ($1.57) Value: Both Teams To Score – YES ($2.15) Correct Score: Australia 3-3 ($11.00)