Socceroos World Cup Qualifier Preview – Matchday 8 v Oman

Facebooktwittermail

Matchday 8 of the AFC World Cup Qualifying Third Phase sees the Socceroos heading to Muscat to take on Oman.

Following on from their 4-0 win over Vietnam in Melbourne, Australia will be looking to build on that result as they try and secure a direct path to Qatar and avoid the dreaded playoff route.

We’ve got our World Cup Qualifier preview and best bets below so read on and see what we are backing in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Lay of the Land

Heading into Matchday 8, Australia is sitting in third place in Group B behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, who face off in Saitama on Tuesday evening.

The hosts are on seven points and need to win out to make up a seven point and 11 goal difference on the Australians, so they have no margin for error and will be desperate to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Depending on the final score both in Saitama and Muscat, Australia can secure a top three finish in the group with at least a draw in their match.

If they draw with Oman and Saudi Arabia defeats Japan, or defeat Oman and Japan does not defeat Saudi Arabia, Australia will also move up into second place in Group B.

The best case scenario for the Socceroos is a win over Oman and a Saudi win, should that occur, Saudi Arabia would move to 22 points and lock up one of the direct qualification spots, while Australia would move to 17 points and Japan stays on 15.

That would then give Australia a chance to directly qualify for the 2022 World Cup on Matchday 9 when they host Japan in Sydney.

Worst case scenario would be a loss and a Japanese win, which would allow Oman to move within four points and move Japan four points clear in second spot.

The short version of that is simple: we could move a lot closer to finding out many teams’ World Cup fate by Wednesday morning.

Head to Head History

Australia’s home game on Matchday 3 was played in Doha due to the border restrictions in place at the time, but it did not stop the Socceroos coming away with all three points.

Awer Mabil opened the scoring in the ninth minute before Al Alawi Al Mandhar equalised just before the half hour mark.

Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke then secured the points with second half goals.

Since Australia’s move to Asia, these sides have met in nine competitive fixtures and the advantage has been firmly in favour of the Socceroos.

Overall, Australia has won five of those matches with three draws and one Omani win during qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in November 2011.

Business Trip

It was great to see Australia put up four goals in Melbourne, but as we approach crunch time in the qualifying campaign, style points don’t matter, only results.

Their last two road trips against Japan and China have seen them gain just one point, and goals have not been all that common.

Since international football resumed in June 2021, Australia’s four nominal away matches have seen a total of nine goals scored and this is shaping up as another low scoring contest.

Oman is averaging less than a goal per game and I’ll back a 1-0 result being enough.

Back Under 1.5 Goals @ $2.70

Goalscorers

With this match likely being decided by one or two goals, it may well be worth taking a punt on the first goalscorer market.

The big question is how much Graham Arnold will rotate his squad from last Thursday with at least a couple of changes seeming likely.

Jamie Maclaren should retain his spot leading the line and is worth backing in here as he netted the first goal in Melbourne and should have the weight of chances.

Elsewhere in the team, it might be tough to see Tom Rogic sent to the bench after his stellar showing, but the fresh legs of one Ajdin Hrustic, fresh off serving a yellow card ban might be worth throwing in from the outset.

Back Jamie Maclaren First Goalscorer @ $4.20

Back Ajdin Hrustic First Goalscorer @ $8.50

Match Result Best Bet

Oman will come with all their might in this one and they should make life tough for Australia but there was enough to take from that convincing win to show that they can take care of business.

So while Australia outright at $1.50 isn’t the best value, it’s probably also the safe option.

However if you are expecting one or two goals to be all that is scored, the value play there is to tak Australia to Win to Nil.

Back Australia to Win to Nil @ $2.20