Match preview: Socceroos v Syria
The Socceroos will determine their fate on Wednesday morning AEDT when they take on Syria in the final Group B fixture of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
Australia bounced back from their game against Jordan with a solid 3-0 win over Palestine, displaying the composed yet free-flowing, attacking football Graham Arnold promised fans.
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Captain Mark Milligan produced a game-high 97 passes, with 90% of those finding their target, while Awer Mabil grabbed four shots, two of which were on target and one that found the back of the net.
In their way is a Syrian outfit who are yet to win a game in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
Qasioun Nosour were held to a stalemate against a 10-man Palestine in their opening fixture, before falling 2-0 to Jordan. That winless start saw head coach Bernd Stange relieved of his duties.
The top two teams of each group progress to the Round of 16, along with the four-best, third-placed sides. With the Socceroos currently in second place on three points, a win or draw would guarantee their progression to the next round.
Where and when
Date: Wednesday, January 16 2019
Venue: Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
Kick-off: 12:30am AEDT
Socceroos squad news
By all accounts, the squad appears to be fit and ready for the big encounter.
A selection dilemma may confront Arnold, with both Jamie Maclaren and Apostolos Giannou showing fine form and grabbing a goal apiece in the game against Palestine.
In the midfield, Chris Ikonomidis has shone under Arnold, grabbing two assists against Palestine, while Tom Rogic grabbed one, too.
Jackson Irvine has worked his socks off in both games of the campaign thus far, and Robbie Kruse is fresh having come on late in Australia’s 3-0 win.
Trent Sainsbury will be ineligible to face Syria, having received a yellow card in each of Australia’s opening two fixtures.
Current AFC Rankings
The Socceroos put their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ campaign into a winning rhythm with a 3-0 win over Palestine on Friday night.
Maclaren and Mabil found the back of the net, while Australia’s centre-back pairing of Sainsbury and Milos Degenek looked as sure as ever. Sainsbury’s replacement will no doubt slot right in, such is the adaptability of Arnold’s side.
Rhyan Grant and Aziz Behich have embodied the Socceroos’ attacking philosophy, showing incredible athleticism and match awareness to maraud up and down their corridors throughout the 90 minutes.
A win or draw for the Socceroos will seal their progression to the Round of 16, so set your alarms and get ready for a thriller.