It’s all to play for on Tuesday night as the Caltex Socceroos chase the win to see-off Syria and progress to the final stage of FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Coach Ange Postecoglou is set to make a few changes to freshen up his squad for the make-or-break clash in Sydney with a host of options up his sleeve at what should be a heaving Stadium Australia.
We’ve come up with three players who didn’t play a big role in Malaysia that loom as the game- changers for the Caltex Socceroos in the second leg.
The Celtic star played only a handful of minutes in the first leg, with Ange Postecoglou having one eye on unleashing Rogic on Syria at home.
And the prospect of a fresh Rogic – spared having to play on a heavy pitch in Malaysia – ready to torment a tired Syria side should fill Caltex Socceroos players and fans with confidence.
Rogic’s ability to pick a pass, dribble and beat his marker one-on-one as well as shoot from distance means he could have a key role to play on Tuesday night.
If he’s ‘on’, Syria won’t have an answer to his quality.
The bigger the stakes, the more likely Cahill will deliver. And it doesn’t get much bigger than Tuesday night.
Like Rogic, Cahill was kept out of the action last Thursday night and there’s a strong chance he’ll get the nod from the start on the slick playing surface at Stadium Australia.
It’s not just Cahill’s strength in the air and goal-scoring ability which could be vital, but his experience and calmness in pressure situations could prove the difference.
Even before the first leg, Irvine admitted he felt refreshed and energised to play in these cut-throat matches.
The Hull City midfielder has never let Postecoglou down when called upon in the green and gold and you get the feeling he could have an impact on Tuesday night.
His late runs from deep to get into the box and on the end of crosses is his real strength, while his mobility and work-rate make him a perfect player for the boss’ up-tempo game-plan.