Socceroos World Cup Qualifier Preview – Matchday 3 v Oman

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After a four week interlude for domestic duties, the Socceroos resume their quest for Qatar when they take on Oman in the early hours of Friday morning (AEDT).

Australia will be chasing an 11th consecutive win in men’s internationals and continue their perfect start to the third phase of AFC World Cup Qualifying.

Up next is Oman, with the match set to be played at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar due to travel restrictions, preventing Australia from hosting this fixture locally.

We have gone through the markets and found our best bets for the next match so read on and find out what we are backing here.

Last Time

Five weeks ago, Australia defeated China 3-0 at this same venue to open up this phase of qualifying.

Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke were on the scoresheet that night before the Socceroos headed to Vietnam and battled to a 1-0 victory in oppressive humidity on a poor pitch.

Oman stunned Japan in their first match with Issam Al Sabhi’s 88th minute goal enough to earn them all three points.

Unfortunately they were unable to back it up on Matchday 2 at home to Saudi Arabia, falling 1-0 in that match.

Head to Head History

Oman might not be seen as a footballing powerhouse in Asia but the Socceroos need to be on their guard against a side they have been ambushed by in the past.

They have faced off nine times since Australia joined the AFC, with the Socceroos winning five times and drawing three more.

In their first meeting, during the 2007 Asian Cup, the Socceroos needed a 91st minute equaliser from Tim Cahill to come away with a point to begin that doomed campaign.

During qualification for the 2014 World Cup, they faced off four times and Oman really gave the Australians problems.

Honours were split over the first two meetings with one win apiece before they had to settle for draws during the following group stage.

If you are looking for some form of encouragement, it’s that the Australians have not had any troubles with them in the last two meetings.

They recorded a 4-0 win in the 2015 Asian Cup and more recently, a 5-0 victory in a friendly in the lead up to the 2019 Asian Cup.

While that does not guarantee anything for this match, it is at least something to focus on in the build up to this match.

Defensive Dominance

Australia’s 10-match winning streak has been built on a solid defence that has kept eight clean sheets and conceded just two goals in that run.

The only team to score on them in that time was Chinese Taipei who lost those matches by a combined score of 12-2.

Since Graham Arnold took over the national team in 2018, they have only conceded more than one goal in a match once, which was in a 3-2 win over Syria during the 2019 Asian Cup.

Oman put seven past Nepal in a friendly to prepare for this match however it is unlikely that they will find a way through Australia’s defence.

With that in mind, take the Socceroos run to continue and back them to win with a clean sheet.  

Back Australia to Win to Nil @ $2.10

Goalscorers

Given the first bet in this is taking Australia to win, it’s worth backing a couple of goalscorers in that market as well.

He has been quiet through Australia’s first two matches but I’m holding firm on the big man Harry Souttar to make his presence felt at set pieces.

There were chances for him in the first two matches and he is going to bury one sooner rather than later.

For the second player, it just comes down to which forward you are feeling the most confident in.

Martin Boyle might play on the wing in Arnold’s system but he is proving to be a reliable goalscoring threat for the national team.

Having scored in the 3-0 win over China, he is bringing some solid club form to the table here as well, getting on the scoresheet in three of his last four matches for Hibernian in Scotland.

While Awer Mabil and Adam Taggart are also worth considering, Boyle offers the best combination of form and value for punters.

Back Martin Boyle Anytime Goalscorer @ $3.10

Back Harry Souttar Anytime Goalscorer @ $4.50

Match Result

While some may still scoff at the idea Australia can field a competent football team, this group has earned the benefit of the doubt in matches like this.

Head to head their $1.40 price seems about right, but as we saw in Vietnam last month, they will be pushed by other nations looking to claim a big scalp.

Oman has already defeated Japan and will know that they can top any team that takes them lightly but Arnold has done a good job getting his team ready for matches like this.

As long as they show a little bit of patience they should be able to find a way through Oman early and be able to hold out from there.

Back Australia/Australia HT/FT @ $2.20