I was looking at the table and the schedule of matches for the Socceroo's qualifying campaign for yet another World Cup in South Africa and noticed how spread out the games are. We've got one more game this year on the 19th of November in Bahrain, then one next February, one in April then three in June over 11 days. Then I started looking at the two nearest fixtures in more detail.
The Socceroo's latest victory puts them on top of the ladder, always a good place to be. The next match is against Bahrain away, the same night Japan are away to Qatar. This means that if Australia win and the other match is a draw, we would be four points clear of Japan. Either way it goes, this next round will shape how easy it will be for Australia to qualify. That's why I think most Aussie players will make themselves available for this fixture. I'm pretty sure it's not in an international window for the European players, but they know how much more easily they could sleep if we can get some more away points and continue to rough house this group.
Next game is (11th of February) Japan at home, if we can sneak a draw or a win there we will be in a strong position, I just keep thinking if the Socceroos win both, we will be at least five points clear of our nearest rival. With only one more away game (Qatar- Ha-ha) amongst three at home to follow, this is a scenario that would make us Australian Soccer fans sleep a little easier too.
Japan away is the bigger test, although we most recently lost to them at the Asian Cup, we can draw on the memories of Germany. Most of the same players are with the squad too, should be a good game regardless of result, with both teams chasing three points.
I don't know about Bahrain though, anyone know much about this team? Japan recently took three points off them in Manama, but Bahrain took three off them during the previous phase of qualifying. Australia beat them twice in qualifying for the Asian Cup, but apparently that was their under 23 side. This is being touted as a banana skin for the Aussies, as long as their isn't too much home ground advantage, ie food poisoning, I think with a full strength team we will win it. All I really want though is for the game to be televised at a regular hour its on a Wednesday for crying out loud.
|Australia||–||10 Jun '09||17 Jun '09||4 – 0||1 Apr '09|
|Bahrain||19 Nov '08||–||2 – 3||1 Apr '09||17 Jun '09|
|Japan||11 Feb '09||28 Mar '09||–||10 Jun '09||1 – 1|
|Qatar||6 Jun '09||1 – 1||19 Nov '08||–||3 – 0|
|Uzbekistan||0 – 1||11 Feb '09||6 Jun '09||28 Mar '09||–|