|WCQ: Saudi Arabia v Australia Friday 4.45am (AEST)
at King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah
|Best: 1st Half Result – Draw ($1.85)
Value: Under 1.5 goals ($2.75)
Correct Score: 0-0 ($8.00)
It has been the perfect start for the Socceroos in their quest for automatic qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They posted a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Iraq and followed it up with a narrow 1-0 win over the UAE in scorching heat. Yet to concede a goal it is goals difference which has them on top of Saudi Arabia who are also two from two.
The Socceroos have won the last three meetings between the two nations and they have surprisingly been very high scoring affairs with 4, 6 and 5 goals. The Wolf is adamant that we won’t see many this time around with temperatures forecast well in excess of 35 degrees. Ange Postecoglou’s side has had multiple training sessions in an attempt to adapt to the conditions and they will draw confidence from the win in the UAE in similar conditions.
Ange has made three changes to the squad with Bailey Wright, Jimmy Jeggo and Craig Goodwin coming in replacing Burns, Kruse and Ikonomidis – sighting a lack of game time as the key factor.
The Socceroos will again look to control the game in the middle of the park. It is our squads biggest asset with both quality and depth. Captain Mile Jedinak will be partnered by Milligan in the holding role and given the tasks of winning the ball, distributing and counter pressing. Their effectiveness is critical and if they can get the upper hand it will create more space for Mooy and Rogic to operate in. Both men have been in outstanding form for their respective club sides. How much time Cahill will get remains to be seen but we are again likely to see him come off the bench on the hour mark in search of a winner.
This match will be played out in a very similar fashion to the Socceroos clash against the UAE. The Socceroos will look to play a very disciplined and controlled style early before working their way into the encounter in the second half. Goals are very hard to come by in scorching heat and with little time to adapt don’t expect to see the Aussies flooding numbers forward.
We’re unlikely to see a goal in the first half and The Wolf says there is value in backing both the 0-0 draw and under 1.5 goals for the match!