Wed, Mar 29, 2:37pm by Senior Writer
Despite languishing in third spot in their Asian World Cup qualifying group with just three games to go, the Socceroos are $1.36 to make the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
The Socceroos broke a run of four straight draws in defeating the UAE 2-0 in Sydney on Tuesday night, a result which coach Ange Postecoglou hopes re-ignites the charge to qualify.
But the passage through the group is anything but straight forward for the Aussies, who find themselves three points adrift of both Japan and Saudi Arabia after both recorded wins on Tuesday as well.
The top two teams get automatic qualification, with the third team having to endure both a playoff with the third-placed team in the other Asian qualifying group then a two-legged play off with a nation from CONCACAF.
The Socceroos next match against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide on June 8 will be crucial to their hopes of automatic qualification.
Australia are $1.67 to win that match and draw level with the Saudis on points. Saudi Arabia are $4.33 to be the first team since China in 2008 to defeat Australia in a World Cup qualifier on home soil. A draw is priced at $3.80.
It could all come down to Australia’s final home World Cup qualifier against Thailand a few days later. Australia are $1.10 to win that match, with the Thais at $15.
However, Australia’s fate could be decided by what happens when Saudi Arabia host Japan on the same day.
Iran are all but assured top spot in Group A and currently hold a four-point lead over South Korea, and more importantly a five-point gap over third placed Uzbekistan. South Korea lost 1-0 to China before bouncing back with a win over Syria, while the Ukbeks lost to Syria then defeated Qatar.
Like Australia’s group, there are four points between third and fourth, meaning it is a three-way fight for two spots each heading into the final three rounds.
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