Live: Socceroos v Iraq

By , 10/03/2019 15:50

. jim morrison
Nanjing Night Net

Having fun yet? Photo: Getty Images

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World Cup, you say? Photo: Getty Images

After years watching his beloved Dunfermline play in the Scottish leagues, Jim Morrison brings his unique understanding of Route One football to Sydney as the Socceroos look to book a ticket to the World Cup in Brazil. A win is good enough.

Well, yes. And here we go again.

Welcome to the blog for tonight’s vital World Cup qualifier between the Socceroos and Iraq at ANZ Stadium. Vital, you say? How so? Well, where would you rather be in 12 months’ time – shivering away in your two-bedroom terrace at Bondi Junction or whooping it up in Rio de Janiero at the biggest carnival in world sport?

Because Australia are 90 minutes away from a seat at that most exclusive of parties for a third successive time.

Having experienced the highs of Germany in ‘06 and the not-so-highs (but better there than square) of South Africa in 2010, non attendance at Brazil does not bear thinking about.

The good news is that qualification is in Australia’s hands tonight. Win against Iraq, and we’re on the plane to Rio. That’s all ye know and all ye need to know.

With that in mind, I’d like to present myself to Fairfax’s managing sports editors for active service in Brazil next winter. A tough assignment but I’m willing to take this one for the team.

I’m also 34 years of age – so would fit in nicely with the dad’s army Holger Osieck has assembled.

In all seriousness, the old heads in Osieck’s squad – Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer, Mark Bresciano et al – are exactly what’s required for this type of occasion. They’ve been there and done that, having come through the nerve-shredding play-off against Uruguay in 2005 and then the professionally accomplished qualification campaign four years later. There are bound to be a few butterflies at the outset tonight given the high stakes, but this is a transitional and inexperienced Iraqi side which Australia should really be able to take care of.

Indeed, some may say that if the Socceroos cannot beat FIFA’s 98th-ranked team, at home, in front of 80,000 fans, with a place at the World Cup up for grabs, they do not deserve to be there at all… I’m not one of them, but am confidently tipping an Australian victory tonight and a repeat of these famous scenes in 2005:

That’s just my my prediction though – what do you think the outcome will be tonight? cast your vote in our poll or leave a comment at the right.

As noted before, this is a young Iraqi side about which not a great deal is known. By me, anyway. But Fairfax columnist Craig Foster posted an analysis of Iraq’s tactical approach that makes A Brief History of Time look like a kids’ pop-up book earlier this afternoon. Essential reading if, like me, your tactical appreciation starts begins and ends with the long ball. Well, I did grow up watching Dunfermline.

Here’s some more pre-match reading and viewing: Sebastian Hassett on the history of Australia’s World Cup qualification campaigns, with plenty of old footage to get you in the mood, including – apologies – heartbreak against Scotland in 1985.

Fairfax’s attacking triumvirate of Sebastian Hassett, Dominic Bossi and Michael Lynch are covering the big one tonight. Seb has just informed me it’s absolute madness on the trains on the way to ANZ Stadium. If you were planning on leaving it late to get to the venue, don’t bother….

#GREENANDGOLD as far as the eye can see @ANZStadium. Just over an hour til the #AUSvIRQ decider #GoSocceroospic.twitter南京夜网/Uq1XzCAuNH— ANZ Stadium (@ANZStadium) June 18, 2013

As usual in these situations, there are a few different potential scenarios. The easiest equation is that a Socceroos victory = qualification, but here’s a round-up of all the eventualities. If the Socceroos lose tonight, make sure you’ve got your calculator handy while watching the Jordan-Oman match in the early hours of tomorrow morning…

Australia will secure direct qualification if:– They beat Iraq. – They draw with Iraq and Oman fail to win against Jordan in Amman. – They lose to Iraq and Jordan beat Oman with a combined goal difference of fewer than 15 goals.

Australia will finish third and face two play-offs if: – They draw or lose to Iraq and Oman defeat Jordan.– They lose to Iraq and Jordan beat Oman with a combined goal difference of 15. – They lose to Iraq by eight goals and Oman draw with Jordan.

Australia cannot finish lower than third in Group B.

Iraq are fifth, out of contention for a place in the World Cup and cannot finish higher than fourth.

Jordan host Oman at the King Abdullah International Stadium, Amman, at 2am Wednesday, Sydney time.

In the event of a third-placed finish, Iran or Uzbekistan from Group A are the likeliest opponents in the Asian leg of the play-off.

There remains a slim chance of a nightmare clash against South Korea, before a showdown with the likes of Uruguay, Venezuela or Peru … but plenty of water has to go under the bridge before we have to start contemplating that one. Let’s just get the job done tonight, eh?

Kick-off is fast approaching. Fozzie has summed up the feeling around the country better than I ever could in under 144 characters…

Best wishes to everyone, in this together. Players, fans, coaches, volunteers, administrators. Fingers crossed for Oz football— Craig Foster (@Craig_Foster) June 18, 2013

Reports Jason Culina announced at a pre-match function that he’s hanging up his boots:

[email protected] champion Jason Culina has announced his retirement from football. Great career, the end of which was crueled by injury— Sebastian Hassett (@sebth) June 18, 2013

Anthems. Here come the teams. Iraq’s national anthem respectfully observed by the home crowd – as urged by Lucas Neill pre-match – before a spine-tingling, hairs-on-back-of-neck rendition of Advance Australia Fair. ANZ Stadium a veritable sea of green and gold. Get intae them, as we say in Scotland…

Kick-off. Iraq get the game under way.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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