The explainer: why Sept 5 is a crunch clash

For Caltex Socceroo fans, the next home match against Thailand in Melbourne – Australia’s final in Group B of 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers - is absolutely pivotal in our qualification campaign. Here's why.


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As you can see, the group is finely balanced. You could not get a more tighter fight for top two. Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia all have eyes on the big prize. 

And when you consider Australia plays Japan in Saitama five days before the Thailand game in Melbourne on Sept 5, it all makes for an incredible finish to the group as three nations fight out for top two and automatic qualification.  


Japan v Australia Aug 31

UAE v Saudi Arabia Aug 31

Ange Postecoglou

Australia v Thailand Sep 5

Saudi Arabia v Japan Sep 5


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.

Caltex Socceroo excited by Melbourne World Cup qualifier

Tim Cahill celebrates with teammates after James Troisi opened the scoring against Chile in Moscow.


What if Australia and another nation finish on equal points at the end of the group stage? 

If both teams have the same points then goal difference will be the deciding factor. 

If the teams can still not be divided, then the side with the most goals scored in the group will book a place in Russia. 

Still tied after that? 

Then the next criterion to evaluate is greatest number of points obtained between the teams concerned. 

In the case of Australia and Saudi Arabia, the Socceroos have four points and the Saudis one point from their two games. 

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