Australia brace for another FIFA 2018 World Cup cliffhanger in Sydney

Australia defeated Syria 2-1 in a nail-biting second leg of their Asia playoff last week at the same venue, keeping their hopes of a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance alive.

By: Reuters | Melbourne | Published: October 15, 2017 8:32 am
FIFA 2018 World Cup, David Gallop, Football Federation Australia, Australia Australia need to overcome Honduras, who booked their place in the intercontinental playoff. (Source: Reuters)

Australia will brace for another World Cup cliffhanger in Sydney, with FIFA confirming the second leg of the Socceroos’ intercontinental playoff against Honduras will be played at the city’s Olympic stadium on November 15.

Australia defeated Syria 2-1 in a nail-biting second leg of their Asia playoff last week at the same venue, keeping their hopes of a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance alive.

Australia need to overcome Honduras, who booked their place in the intercontinental playoff by finishing fourth in the North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying, to secure a berth in the finals in Russia next year.

The first leg of the playoff will be in Honduras on November 10 but the time and venue have yet to be confirmed, Football Federation Australia said in a media release on Sunday.

Prior to joining the Asian Football Confederation, Australia competed in Oceania qualifying and had to beat Uruguay in a playoff to qualify for the 2006 finals in Germany, their first World Cup appearance since their 1974 debut.

Australia defeated Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out in the second leg at the Olympic stadium to secure their 2006 ticket, sparking wild celebrations across the country.

“Following last week’s dramatic play-off victory over Syria it comes down to these last two matches to see who will get the final berth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said.

“There hasn’t been a more important match played in Australia since our last intercontinental playoff against Uruguay 12 years ago, and for all of us who were there it was truly a very special moment in Australian sporting history.

“With a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at stake we’re calling on all football and sports fans to rally behind the … Socceroos as they aim to qualify for their fourth successive FIFA World Cup.”

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