The Caltex Socceroos are heading to Sydney to take on fellow AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 finalists Lebanon at ANZ Stadium.
Coach Graham Arnold has lined up the match as a key part of his plans to ensure Australia are fully prepared to defend their AFC Asian Cup crown in January.
Lebanon are ranked the ninth best team in Asia and will provide a stern test when the game kicks off at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 at 7.30pm.
It comes just three days after the Caltex Socceroos face Korea Republic in Brisbane.
And it will give Arnold a chance to provide game time to the new recruits he named in his first training squad this morning – including Ben Garuccio, Kenneth Dougall, and Awer Mabil.
Arnold said: “The fixtures that have been scheduled in Brisbane and Sydney will provide us with valuable match minutes against strong Asian opponents, and this will only help us to improve as a team.
“The players are excited to return to Australia to play in front of their families, friends, and fans, so we look forward to playing in front of large vocal crowds at both matches.”
The Caltex Socceroos’ only previous meeting with Lebanon came in September 2012 in a friendly match played in Beirut.
On that day goals from Tim Cahill, Matt McKay, and Archie Thompson helped the Caltex Socceroos to a 3-0 victory at the Saida Municipal Stadium.
Current Caltex Socceroo Robbie Kruse played 59 minutes in the fixture, which also served as Mark Schwarzer’s 100th appearance in the green and gold.
FFA CEO, David Gallop AM, said: “We are delighted to have worked with ANZ Stadium to lock in another quality match for the Caltex Socceroos in Australia in 2018.
“ANZ Stadium has played host to many memorable Caltex Socceroos fixtures in the past, so we’re sure that both supporters and players will be pleased with the news that they will return to the venue this November.
“Sydney is also home to over 165,000 people with Lebanese heritage. We look forward to the opportunity of engaging with the Australian-Lebanese community over the coming months leading up to the match, and expect to feel a real party atmosphere inside ANZ Stadium on game day as the Australian-Lebanese community comes together.”
ANZ Stadium CEO, Daryl Kerry, said Australia against Lebanon in Western Sydney has the potential to create another “Where Were You?” moment in Australian football history.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming back the Caltex Socceroos to ANZ Stadium and the Australia against Lebanon game promises to be a special event on the Australian sports calendar,” said Kerry.
“Australians everywhere cheered home the Socceroos in their FIFA World Cup qualifying wins against Syria and Honduras at ANZ Stadium late last year, and this game will have the added excitement of a new generation of Socceroos players under coach Graham Arnold and engagement with the passionate Australian-Lebanese community that will ensure this is an event to remember.”
Mr Kerry said the edge-of-your-seat World Cup qualifiers in 2017 had added to a long list of memorable football moments at ANZ Stadium, which included “John Aloisi’s penalty shootout clincher against Uruguay in 2005, the Josh Kennedy header that took the Socceroos to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the AFC Asian Cup Final extra-time victory over Korea Republic in January 2015”.