Football Alive

Australia vs Syria Preview

It’s Australia vs the Qasioun Eagles! Football Alive provides a thorough preview of a crucial clash for the Socceroos. Enjoy our article and make sure you’re cheering on the Roos!

Where: Hang Jebat Stadium, Malacca, Malaysia

When: Kick-Off 11:30pm AEST

TV: Live from 11:00pm AEST on Ch 9 and Fox Sports 501 (Note: The game will be televised on 9Go! in Perth)

Odds: Australia $1.70, Draw $3.65, Syria $4.80 (Sportsbet)

Weather: A hot, humid and wet night, with showers and an expected temperature of 28° at KO

AUSTRALIA

Squad

Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Danny Vukovic, Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matt Jurman, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Bailey Wright, Mustafa Amini, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Nikita Rukavytsya

Form (from most to least recent)

W 2-1 v Thailand (H)

L 0-2 v Japan (A)

D 1-1 v Chile (Confederations Cup)

D 1-1 v Cameroon (Confederations Cup)

L 2-3 v Germany (Confederations Cup)

Australia come into this game in good form, although the resounding loss to Japan may have dampened players’ spirits. Trent Sainsburry will once again be crucial for the Socceroos in keeping Syrian counter attacks at bay, whilst Milligan will need to be on his game to provide much needed stability and calm in midfield. It’s in midfield where this first leg can be won or lost for the Socceroos. If Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic can link up well, and get into dangerous attacking positions, then the Socceroos should have ample opportunities to score. However if either player has an off performance, as a tired Tommy Rogic did against Thailand, then the Syrian defence will have a much quiter night. It will also be very interesting to see if Matt Leckie and Robbie Kruse can carry their good form in Germany through to Thursday night’s game – let’s hope they can, especially with the absnece of Alex Gersbach, arguably Australia’s best wing-back in 2017.

SYRIA

Squad

Ibrahim Alma, Mahmoud Al-Youssef, Ahmad Madania, Moayad Ajan, Alaa Al Shbli, Hadi Al Masri, Jehad Al Baour, Gabriel Somi, Amro Jenyat, Mahmoud Al Mawas, Osama Omari, Fahd Youssef, Youssef Kalfa, Tamer Haj Mohamad, Hamid Mido, Zaher Midani, Khaled Al Mobayed, Oday Al Jafal, Israa Hamwiah, Omar Khribin, Omar Al Soma, Firas Al Khatib, Mardik Mardikian

Form (From most to least recent)

D 2-2 v Iran (A)

W 3-1 v Qatar (H – Malacca, Malaysia)

D 1-1 v Iraq (H – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

W 2-1 v Malaysia (A – Malacca, Malaysia)

D 1-1 v China (H – Malacca, Malaysia)

Syria have punched well above their weight in World Cup 2018 qualifying, and are extremely unlucky to not have qualified automatically for Russia. Their form in Malaysia has been impressive, as was their ability to remain undefeated against powerhouse Iran and big spending China during qualifying. Captain Firas Al-Khatib, back after a 5-year absence (while he was protesting the Assad regime) is the team’s talisman, and will constantly lift his side throughout these two legs. Expect Omar Al Soma, the man who netted the equailiser against Iran, to come into this game with plenty of confidence too. Both Firas and Omar will fancy their chances on the counter against our back three, especially as we tire during the game in the Malaysian humidity. Syria have also a selected a wildcard for these games in Swedish-based left back Gabriel Somi. With 12 Allsvenskan appearances to his name this season, and three goals, don’t be surprised if he features against the Socceroos, with his pace being put to good use on the counter.

Prediction

It would be foolish to underestimate Syria, especially given their strong form in Malaysia and their determination. They carry the hopes of their war-torn nation on their backs, and will be raring to go for what is arguably the biggest match in their history. Expect a match very similar to the Thailand game – Syria had just 34% possession against Iran. Just as Alex Gersbach did against Thailand, expect Australia’s left wing-back to drop back when Syria are on the counter, converting the back 3 to a back 4 and hopefully keeping the Syrian attack, arguably stronger than the Thais’ offence last month, at bay. Australia are the much stronger side on paper, but expect Syria’s determination and willpower to get them a result in Malacca.

Syria 2-2 Australia

Highlights of Previous Matches

Australia 2-1 Thailand

Iran 2-2 Syria

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