Mon, Oct 2, 5:50pm by Head Editor
The Socceroos squad have landed in Malaysia ahead of Thursday’s make or break World Cup qualifier against Syria, but they’ll be taking the field without their skipper Mile Jedinak, after the Aston Villa defender was ruled out with a groin injury.
His absence hasn’t affected the odds, with the Aussies at $1.80 to get the win at Hang Jebat Stadium. Syria is out at $4.40 while the draw, which would be a good result for Australia, with the second leg to be played in Sydney the following Tuesday, at $3.50.
Mark Milligan is set to captain Australia if veteran Tim Cahill – who was among the first of the squad to arrive in Melaka – starts on the bench.
Tom Rogic and Aaron Mooy will be expected to play a big role in the remaining qualifiers, and the good news for the Socceroos is that the pair are in good form.
Mooy has started the season brilliantly for Huddersfield in the English Premier League, while Rogic scored for Celtic’s Old Firm derby within against Rangers two weeks ago, which was one of two goals that he’s already scored in seven appearances for the Bhoys this season.
The Qasioun Eagles of Syria, also finished third in their group – scored only nine goals from 10 games, compared with Australia’s 16 – were hoping to play this match closer to home in either Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, before Malaysia, where they’ve played all their third-round qualifiers, was confirmed as the setting.
War-ravaged Syria have not played a match on home soil since 2010. The winners of this tie will play off against the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF in November for a spot in the finals in Russia in eight months.
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