Iraq
1
World Cup Qualifiers
(Thu 23 Mar 2017, 11.00PM AEDT)
FINAL
Attendance: 3270
Fox Sports
Channel 9
Australia
1

Timeline

FFA TV | Milligan urges fast start for Socceroos

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Postecoglou focused on Socceroos performance

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Ange vows positive Socceroo approach

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Jedinak wary of struggling Iraq

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FFA TV | Milligan urges fast start for Socceroos
FFA TV | Milligan urges fast start for Socceroos
Watching
Postecoglou focused on Socceroos performance
Postecoglou focused on Socceroos performance
Watching
Ange vows positive Socceroo approach
Ange vows positive Socceroo approach
Watching
Jedinak wary of struggling Iraq
Jedinak wary of struggling Iraq

Preview: Iraq v Caltex Socceroos

Australia's qualification campaign for Russia 2018 reaches a pivotal stage with five group games remaining, starting with unpredictable Iraq in neutral Tehran on Thursday night (AEDT).

GROUP B SCENARIO

Four nations divided by just one point, jostling for two automatic qualification spots.

It could not be any tighter.

The undefeated Caltex Socceroos accounted for Iraq 2-0 in Perth on the opening night of this final round of qualifiers seven months ago.

This was followed by a 1-0 win in Abu Dhabi - one of the best results in recent times given the travel and heat.

But three consecutive draws: in Saudi Arabia, at home to Japan and in Bangkok - has stymied Australia’s progress somewhat.

To keep their slim hopes alive, the Lions of Mesopotamia - like Australia - simply have to win. 

Massimo Luongo after scoring the Caltex Socceroos' first goal in the 2-0 win over Iraq in Perth.

It all makes for edge-of-the-seat viewing on Thursday night. 

AUSTRALIAN SQUAD NEWS

Despite being unbeaten in the group, coach Ange Postecoglou clearly had seen enough after those three draws and shook up his squad with a raft of changes for this game and the following one against UAE in Sydney next Tuesday night (March 28).

Postecoglou has veered away from having players who aren't performing regularly at club level, favouring more battle hardened selections and in-form talents.

Ange names 23-man squad for qualifiers

I like the look of this squad, with Danny Vukovic, Riley McGree, Musti Amini and Rhyan Grant giving the squad a shot of energy and desire (though Amini was a late arrival into Tehran due to his club commitments). 

The squad has had its first, albeit light, session in Tehran on Monday. 

In team news, Austrian-based midfielder Jimmy Jeggo's injury has opened the door for Nathan Burns to return to the squad after the Tokyo FC striker was left out of the final 23.

Socceroos v UAE banner

QUALIFICATION PROCESS

AFC has 4.5 spots in qualification for the next World Cup with top two in both AFC groups progressing.
Third place in each group is dragged into a continental showdown home and away with the winner moving into a home and away inter-continental playoff against a CONCACAF nation.

CURRENT WORLD RANKINGS

Australia: 55
Iraq: 122

Mark Milligan

FINAL WORD

Iraq is a very proud football nation. It's produced big players and successful teams, having won the Asian Cup 10 years ago in the golden era of Younis Mahmoud and Co.

But being so far off the top four sides in the group means they have to win in Tehran to keep their dreams alive. 

A loss and it's pretty much all over for this exciting but unpredictable Iraqi squad (who beat Iran in a friendly last Saturday, 1-0.)

For the Caltex Socceroos the scenario is simple: win to keep top two within their grasp. 

Also on Thursday night, UAE host Japan and the Saudis are away in Bangkok. How the table looks on Friday morning will be fascinating.

In fact, a win in Tehran could potentially propel the Aussies to top of the group.

The qualification campaign is about to enter its most exciting phase, starting this Thursday night at the PAS Stadium in Tehran.

It’s time the dominating version of the Socceroos was unleashed. It's time for Ange's men to start winning games. 

The Caltex Socceroos tackle UAE in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in Sydney on March 28.   Click here for tickets.

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FFA TV | Irvine rues 'mixed bag' Socceroos Play Video

FFA TV | Irvine rues 'mixed bag' Socceroos

FFA TV | Midfielder Jackson Irvine described the Caltex Socceroos performance against Iraq as a 'mixed bag'.

Post Match Videos

Pregame videos

FFA TV | Irvine rues 'mixed bag' Socceroos

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FFA TV | Langerak: Belief still high in squad

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FFA TV | Leckie: 'Second goal would have killed them'

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FFA TV | Milligan backs new formation

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Watching
FFA TV | Irvine rues 'mixed bag' Socceroos
FFA TV | Irvine rues 'mixed bag' Socceroos
Watching
FFA TV | Langerak: Belief still high in squad
FFA TV | Langerak: Belief still high in squad
Watching
FFA TV | Leckie: 'Second goal would have killed them'
FFA TV | Leckie: 'Second goal would have killed them'
Watching
FFA TV | Milligan backs new formation
FFA TV | Milligan backs new formation

Caltex Socceroos’ battling draw in Tehran

The Caltex Socceroos have shared the spoils for a fourth time in a row after a battling 1-1 draw in chilly Tehran against a tenacious Iraq in Group B of World Cup qualification on Thursday.

SUMMARY  

On a cold, wet day in the Iranian capital, Iraq had a couple of excellent chances to open the scoring in the first 20 minutes as they settled better than the Australians, who were playing a new formation. 

But the green and gold worked their way back into the contest and took a deserved lead via Mat Leckie just before the break.

The excellent Mitch Langerak kept the Aussies in the game after the break until an equaliser with 15 minutes left set up a grandstand finish as both sides pushed for the much-needed win. 

Catch up with all match action in the Socceroos match centre

http://www.socceroos.com.au/matchcentre/Iraq-v-Australia/851424

GOALS

0-1  Australia Mat Leckie 40’

Aaron Mooy’s in-swinging corner found an unmarked Leckie who powered home his header just inside the six-yard box. 

Mat Leckie.

1-1  Iraq Ahmad Yaseem 76’

A sweeping move saw Ali Adnan’s perfect low cross beat Langerak and at the far post Yaseem coolly slotted home the equaliser.

SOCCEROOS’ FORMATION

3-2-4-1

STAR PERFORMERS

Jackson Irvine (AUS)

Mitch Langerak (AUS)

Mohanad Abdulraheem (IRQ)

Milos Degenek (AUS)

KEY MOMENT

60’ Langerak with a brilliant diving save to deny Iraq.

TALKING POINTS

  1. Australia’s new 3-2-4-1 formation.
  2. The pitch: hardly international standard
  3. Mitch Langerak taking the keeper’s gloves from Mat Ryan

SOCIAL REACTON

@Socceroos

#IRQvAUS

#GoSocceroos

FINAL WORD

All that mattered were three points. For both sides.

In the end, neither got what they wanted.