|WCQ: Japan v Australia
Thursday 8:35pm (AEST)
at Saitama Stadium, Japan
|Best: Under 2.5 goals ($1.72) 💰
Other: Japan WIN ($1.85) 💰
Value: 1st Japan Goal – Up to & Including 30th Min ($2.70)
Correct Score: Japan 2-0 ($9.00) 💰
The fate of the Socceroos World Cup campaign will be determined in two matches over the next week and they have been given a huge boost heading into their crucial away encounter in Japan. The UAE produced a come from behind win against Saudi Arabia which now leaves the Socceroos well in control of their own destiny. The result means that the Socceroos and Saudi Arabia are locked on 16 points a piece, one point behind Japan.
With this fixture being the Socceroos game in hand even a narrow defeat would leave them in a strong position with their final match at home to Thailand while the Saudi’s host Japan. The Blue Samurai can seal qualification with a win over Australia and they will not want to leave things to chance with a tough away trip to end their campaign. Japan are undefeated in their last 6 matches against the Socceroos with 3 wins and 3 draws. Under 2.5 goals has saluted in 4 of the last 6 but both teams have found the back of the net in the last 5 meetings.
The Wolf says that the Socceroos are in fact lucky to be in a position to qualify. They have gone 4 matches without a win and have had huge troubles in defence. Postecoglou’s side has maintained just 1 clean sheet in it’s last 10 matches and that just isn’t going to cut it at international level. The Socceroos have kept Japan scoreless in only 1 of the last 13 encounters between the two nations. Japan have been clinical at home winning 6 of their last 7 World Cup qualifiers on home soil. They have scored multiple goals in 6 of those matches with a total of 22 at an average of more than three per game.
We have seen the Socceroos struggle on short preparation in recent times and that has to concern the manager. It is not all bad news though as we are finally getting squad members back to playing at the highest level. Aaron Mooy has made a stunning start to his EPL career and Matt Ryan has locked down the top job between the sticks for Brighton & Hove. Rogic continues to rule the roost at Celtic while Juric is already off the mark for club side Luzern in the Swiss Super League.
All the talk is about who will play around the quartet – Luongo, Irvine, Cahill, Leckie, Kruse… The Wolf says it is irrelevant. Postecoglou opted for a back three in the Confederations Cup with Kruse and Behicn playing as the flankers. He does not want to see a repeat of that nor does he want to see Milligan line up in central defence. The Japanese side is littered with speed and limiting their short passing game has to be priority one! Honda, Kagawa and Hasebe are all class and that doesn’t include the energetic Okazaki who has started all 3 EPL games for Leicester this season – scoring twice.
The Wolf says Saudi Arabia’s loss to the UAE could in fact have an adverse effect and cannot see a way in which the Socceroos win this match. He is predicting Japan to dominate from the word go. The Socceroos have conceded in the first 25 minutes in 4 of their last 6 World Cup qualifiers and that spells danger! Look for Japan to take the lead into half time before controlling the tempo and pinching a second late on. It will all come down to the home fixture against Thailand on Tuesday for the Socceroos.
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