Only the top two finishers in Group B of the Asian Cup Qualifiers will be invited to FIFA World Cup 22, and Japan is edging closer to the second spot!
Australia is only half-way down the road to the FIFA World Cup 2022, and although the Socceroos are currently in second place in Group B of the Asian qualifiers, a simply slipup could mean that Japan will over take us and steal our spot.
Sadly, a 0-0 stalemate draw against Saudi Arabia was not the desired result. Obviously a loss would have been a fate worse but the weather conditions and poor form were a clear obstacle for the Socceroos.
Frustration may have played a role in the Socceroos’ inability to make good decisions, as Awer Mabil struggled with his decision-making in the waning stages of the first half when he shot from distance rather than driving at the centre back.
The Saudis only took control of the game when the Socceroos lost Harry Souttar to a knee injury after turning in the penalty area with roughly 10 minutes left to play. Saudi Arabia had previously been unbeaten.
While Graham Arnold was optimistic after the draw, stating: “”We are in a great position still,” other fans aren’t so optimistic. Many people are already starting to place their bets that Japan will overtake Australia in the Football World 2022.
Japan has been on a bit of a roll lately and seem to be closing in on Australia and might just snuff their dreams of returning to the World Cup in 2022.
The Australians have accumulated 10 points from their five games in this third phase of qualifying thus far, placing them three points behind Saudi Arabia and one point ahead of Japan, which defeated Vietnam 1-0 away from home on Thursday night.
Japan, who beat Australia 2-1 on October 12, will faceup against Oman Thursday next week (November 17) and if they win they will be 2 points above the Socceroos. However, Australia is competing against China that same night who have had an absolute terrible run and are currently second last with only 4 points.
Two of the Socceroos’ next five games, against Japan and Vietnam, will be played on home soil as well, which was a luxury they did not have during the first part of this phase.
However, there are two difficult away trips to the Middle East: the first, against surprise packets Oman, in January, and the second, against Saudi Arabia on the final day of the season in March — in what will almost certainly be a hostile atmosphere in Riyadh — in March.
However, what is truly scary is that Australia truly struggled to score against Vietnam who have not earned a single point in this qualifiers.
Despite the fact that the Socceroos are presently in second place, they must avoid becoming complacent. Whatever happens in the next couple of months, taking into consideration the fact that they are only half-way there, anything is entirely possible.