Sun, Oct 9, 10:14am by Jake Equid
Date and Time: Tuesday October 11, 8:00pm AEDT
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Live on Fox Sports
The Aussies are back on home soil in Melbourne on Tuesday night for what should be a fabulous game between two technical, attacking teams. The match renews the biggest rivalry in Australian football that began before the Socceroos had played a competitive match in the Asian Football Confederation.
When Tim Cahill scored the first ever Australian goal at a world cup in Kaiserslautern in Germany in 2006 he put Australia on the footballing map, what happened in the next 10 minutes began the rivalry with Japan and now sees the team’s fighting for the title of Asia’s best.
After securing a crucial away point in Saudi Arabia on Friday morning AEDT, the three points here will see Australia in a good position for a top two finish and an automatic qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
24 hours earlier, Japan controversially defeated Iraq with some late drama in Saitama. Hotaru Yamaguchi netted a 95th minute winner to give Japan a 2-1 away win which many believed shouldn’t have counted as six added minutes was too many.
The win gave Japan three crucial points, they currently sit in third place, one point behind both Australia and Saudi Arabia. Should they taste defeat here and if Saudi Arabia win, as they are expected to do at home against the UAE then the heat will be turned up on the Samurai Blue.
A loss for either team will not wound them fatally. But in a group which looks to be as tight as this, dropping any points, particularly at home, could end up proving very costly indeed. The old analogy of winning at home and drawing away is crucial in a lengthy qualifying campaign such as this, this will be Australia’s fourth match out of ten.
After sitting on the bench for much of the match against the Saudi’s, you just get the feeling that Tim Cahill will have a big role to play here in his new hometown of Melbourne. You can get $2.62 for him to score at any time.
BEST BET: Australia to win: $2.40
Odds sourced from Sportsbet and were correct at time of publishing*
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