Socceroos World Cup Qualifier Preview – Matchday 7 v Vietnam

Facebooktwittermail

A plethora of catch up international dates has lead to a rare January World Cup Qualifier for the Asian Football Confederation and the action kicks off in Melbourne with Australia hosting Vietnam.

Just four matchdays remain in Group B and the margin for error for Australia to book a direct flight to Qatar is becoming slimmer and slimmer.

News emerged on Sunday that Head Coach Graham Arnold will miss the entire build up after testing positive for Covid, turning the reigns over to his assistants Rene Meulensteen and Tony Vidmar.

Knowing that this and every remaining game is a must win for Australia, they camp will adopt a next man up mentality as they prepare for the upcoming match.

We’ve taken a look at the markets for the Socceroos World Cup Qualifier and found our best bets, read on and see what they are!

Last Time Out

The November international window was a frustrating one for the Socceroos as a pair of draws put them behind the eight ball in their AFC World Cup Qualifying group.

A 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia in Sydney was not the worst outcome, however a 1-1 draw with China in Sharjah dropped them to third place and out of the automatic qualification spots.

Following their loss in Japan on Matchday 4, that made it three consecutive games without a victory and

The last time Australia went three matches without a win was in the 2018 World Cup as they lost to France and Peru either side of a draw with Denmark and they will be desperate to avoid a four match winless streak here.

Vietnam has been in action more recently, reaching the Semi Finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup in December before going down to Thailand 2-0 on aggregate.

That was a slight change of pace to their current World Cup campaign where they have lost all six of their Group B matches.

In November they pushed Japan and Saudi Arabia in Hanoi before going down 1-0 to both of those teams.

With the dreams of Qatar all but over, Vietnam will be forced to play out their remaining fixtures with the hope of getting at least a point for their troubles.

Head to Head History

When they met in Hanoi on Matchday 2, a tenacious defensive effort by Vietnam frustrated the Socceroos who were able to pick up three points for their efforts thanks to a goal from Rhyan Grant.

Despite holding 70% of possession, Mat Ryan was forced into action more than his opposite number, which raised some concerns about the Socceroos defensive nous.

Adam Taggart was given the opportunity to lead the line that night however he is not in the squad for this round of qualifiers.

That was the only time these teams have faced off at senior international men’s level.

Home Ground Advantage?

Much was made of the Socceroos return to home soil for the first time in over two years when they hosted Saudi Arabia in November, but they were not able to capitalise on having a parochial crowd at their backs.

They will be hoping to make the most of playing on home soil at the current or former home ground of several members of their squad including Jamie Maclaren, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie and Riley McGree just to name a few.

However Melbourne’s weather is unlikely to cooperate (when does it?), with a forecast temperature of around 30 degrees at kickoff with thunderstorms in the area.

Vietnam are no strangers to warm weather and any way to slow the game down will suit them as they look to deploy a similar gameplan to what we saw in Hanoi.

However being at home, with a refreshed squad full of players looking to make a point and maintain their spot going forward, I like Australia’s chances of breaking through early and forcing the visitors to try and chase the game.

Back Over 3.5 Goals @ $2.35

Goalscorers

It’s tough to go past Jamie Maclaren for the Socceroos, after all he has rounded into some impressive form for Melbourne City, scoring in his last four A-League matches and is going to be full of confidence for that reason.

With Australia set to create many chances, Maclaren will have his share of opportunities to score his seventh international goal however his price is too short to back.

He will receive plenty of support from club teammate Mathew Leckie however I’m looking at him as a stay away after a rough patch of form in club land.

Instead, I’ll be looking at the duo of Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke, with the former one of the standout performers of Australia’s qualifying campaign thus far.

Duke meanwhile has shown a knack of coming off the bench and putting one away against a tiring defence so he will be the second option.

Back Mitchell Duke Anytime Goalscorer @ $2.10

Back Martin Boyle Anytime Goalscorer @ $2.25

Match Result Best Bet

Realistically, a win is all that matters in the grand scheme of things for the Socceroos.

However they need to do something to inspire a little bit of confidence heading into a very tough run home in their group.

After this match they will fly to Muscat to play an Omani side that is only four points adrift of the Aussies.

Following that, they will host Japan and play away to Saudi Arabia in the final pair of qualifiers, so getting a win, and finding a way to boost their goal difference here is almost compulsory.

Arnold knew this when selecting his squad and he has brought in some players to add a bit more dynamism to this group and that might just be what he gets.

Knowing they need that goal difference advantage over Japan or Saudi Arabia if they finish level on points should spur the Australians to a comfortable win here.

Back Australia to Win -2 Goals @ $2.25