|WCQ: Australia v Japan Tuesday 8:00pm (AEST)
at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
|Best: Both Teams To Score – YES ($1.90)
Value: Over 2.5 goals ($2.15)
Correct Score: Australia 2-1 ($9.50)
The Socceroos quest for World Cup qualification continues on Tuesday night as they play host to a familiar foe – the Japanese. The Socceroos were able to maintain top spot in Group B following a 2-2 draw in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
Coach Ange Postecoglou said it was a good point but pointed out that “with a little bit more composure we could’ve played out the game and got the three points.” It was always going to be tough after having conceded early but the midfield trio of Jedinak, Mooy and Rogic were able to take complete control of the game. They will be looking to do exactly the same against a Japan side that we have failed to beat since 2009.
The Socceroos are winless in their last 5 against the Blue Samurai (3 losses, 2 draws) and it is a record they will need to improve on if they are to succeed in Asia. That being said on form the Socceroos are the side to beat – especially on home soil.
Japan needed a 95th minute winner against Iraq and they were beaten by the UAE in the qualifiers despite having taken the lead on their own pitch. They play a similar structure to the Aussies with Hasebe in the hole in front of a back four and a target man up front. That role will again be occupied by Leicester CIty’s Okazzaki while Honda will operate down the right flank and look to cut in on his lethal left foot.
The Wolf rates the Socceroos 5 man midfield as the best in Asia. Mooy and Rogic have the freedom in front of Jedinak while Kruse and Leckie operate tirelessly down the flanks.
When these sides meet the game always tends to open up at some point. Both sides have found the back of the net in the last 4 encounters and 7 of the last 9. The Socceroos have scored in 10 consecutive matches while Japan have done so in 16 straight. They may get off to a slow start in this one but it will definitely open up. Look for Cahill and Luongo to make a impact of the bench as the Socceroos go in search of the winning goal. Neither team will be happy with a point and The Wolf says the Socceroos will end their drought against the Japanese.