Football Federation Australia (FFA), together with ANZ Stadium, has announced that the Caltex Socceroos will return to Sydney Olympic Park for an international friendly match against Lebanon in November this year.
The Caltex Socceroos’ second ever match against Lebanon at senior men’s international level will be played on Tuesday, 20 November 2018, and will be the second fixture that the team plays during November’s FIFA international window.
FFA CEO, David Gallop AM, was at ANZ Stadium on Thursday morning for the official match announcement.
Gallop said that the fixture against Lebanon – who, like Australia, will compete in next year’s AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates – will provide the Caltex Socceroos with another solid test leading into Asia’s showpiece football tournament early in 2019.
“We are delighted to have worked with ANZ Stadium to lock in another quality match for the Caltex Socceroos in Australia in 2018,” said Gallop.
“ANZ Stadium has played host to many memorable Caltex Socceroos fixtures in the past, so we’re sure that both supporters and players will be pleased with the news that they will return to the venue this November.”
“Sydney is also home to over 165,000 people with Lebanese heritage. We look forward to the opportunity of engaging with the Australian-Lebanese community over the coming months leading up to the match, and expect to feel a real party atmosphere inside ANZ Stadium on game day as the Australian-Lebanese community comes together,” concluded Gallop.
Caltex Socceroos Head Coach, Graham Arnold, also attended Thursday’s match announcement. Arnold said that the fixture will provide his squad with another opportunity to gel as a unit ahead of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
“Over the coming months we will have three clear opportunities to develop as a squad ahead of the AFC Asian Cup,” said Arnold.
“We will start this process next week with our camp in Turkey and continue to build in October.
“In November, the fixtures that have been scheduled in Brisbane and Sydney will provide us with valuable match minutes against strong Asian opponents, and this will only help us to improve as a team.
“The players are excited to return to Australia to play in front of their families, friends, and fans, so we look forward to playing in front of large vocal crowds at both matches,” he said.
ANZ Stadium CEO, Daryl Kerry, said Australia against Lebanon in Western Sydney has the potential to create another “Where Were You?” moment in Australian football history.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming back the Caltex Socceroos to ANZ Stadium and the Australia against Lebanon game promises to be a special event on the Australian sports calendar,” said Kerry.
“Australians everywhere cheered home the Socceroos in their FIFA World Cup qualifying wins against Syria and Honduras at ANZ Stadium late last year, and this game will have the added excitement of a new generation of Socceroos players under coach Graham Arnold and engagement with the passionate Australian-Lebanese community that will ensure this is an event to remember.”
Mr Kerry said the edge-of-your-seat World Cup qualifiers in 2017 had added to a long list of memorable football moments at ANZ Stadium, which included “John Aloisi’s penalty shootout clincher against Uruguay in 2005, the Josh Kennedy header that took the Socceroos to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the AFC Asian Cup Final extra-time victory over Korea Republic in January 2015”.
The Caltex Socceroos’ only previous meeting with Lebanon came in September 2012 in a friendly match played in Beirut. On that day goals from Tim Cahill, Matt McKay, and Archie Thompson helped the Caltex Socceroos to a 3-0 victory at the Saida Municipal Stadium. Current Caltex Socceroo Robbie Kruse played 59 minutes in the fixture, which also served as Mark Schwarzer’s 100th appearance in the green and gold.
Tickets for the Caltex Socceroos’ match against Lebanon are now on sale to members of Australia’s Football Family via www.socceroos.com.au/tickets. Tickets for Australia versus Lebanon will go on sale to the General Public from 9am on Tuesday, 4 September 2018.
Both of Australia’s international friendly matches in November 2018 will be broadcast live throughout Australia on FOX SPORTS and Network TEN.
Supporters are urged to take this opportunity to see the team in action. Due to AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 commitments and the first phase of 2022 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying, the Caltex Socceroos will not return to Australia again until the second half of 2019.
Caltex Socceroos v Lebanon (International Friendly)
Date: Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS and Network TEN