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Crucial World Cup Qualifiers Drawing Ever Closer

by isport

Australia haven’t had everything their own way so far in the qualification stage for the 2018 World Cup but Ange Postecoglou’s men can take a giant step in the next few months. Wins against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates should see the Socceroos take firm control in the race for Russia.

With five qualifying fixtures remaining, six points could prove crucial come the end of the preliminary round. It would be foolish for Postecoglou and co to underestimate both sides but the Socceroos will be confident of victory; especially as they have defeated Iraq and the UAE already in this competition.

In fact, Australia are the only remaining unbeaten side in group B – Iran have managed to avoid defeat in group A. The Socceroos have struggled to inspire confidence in front of goal in recent times but they usually find the back of the net at least once; the last time Australia failed to score was against Jordan back in October 2015.

On paper, the Socceroos aren’t blessed with talent like they were a decade or so ago but the rise of the A-League has helped the national team to build a much-improved rapport. It was fine and dandy having big-name players on the roster but Australia are now much more focused on the collective rather than individual talent.

That isn’t to say that Australia don’t have a plethora of talent strutting their stuff in foreign leagues though. Bournemouth duo Adam Federici and Brad Smith will both be available for international duty at the end of March as Australia look to secure six points in the space of five vital days in the context of securing automatic qualification.

For now, both men will remain focused on keeping Eddie Howe’s men in the Premier League and soccer tipsters OLBG will be following their progress closely in the build-up to the next round of international fixtures. After all, performing well in England’s top flight, arguably the best division in the world, will stand both men in good stead for international recognition.

Next up is a trip to Iraq and Postecoglou will be confident of three points in this fixture. The Socceroos have won their last four games against Iraq, conceding just once in that excellent run. Iraq are currently second bottom of group B and Australia will definitely see this as ‘three points dropped’ if they fail to win when they visit Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium.

Following that encounter, a home clash with United Arab Emirates shouldn’t throw up too many complications. Australia have never lost to the UAE and victory last time out could spur the Socceroos on to claim another important three points towards qualification.

Australia cannot afford to play catch-up with the likes of Japan and six points could see the Socceroos climb above their rivals at the top of the group. At the moment, it looks like it could be a three-horse race between Australia, Japan and Saudi Arabia and Postecoglou will have his troops raring to go as they push for a convincing week of results at the end of the month.