Match Preview: Lebanon vs Australia | FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers™

The Subway Socceroos conclude their March qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026™ against Lebanon on Tuesday evening (7:45pm AEDT) at Canberra's GIO Stadium.

Lebanon vs Socceroos tickets banner

Having emerged victorious five days earlier in Parramatta, the Subway Socceroos travel south on the Federal Highway for the 'return leg' against Lebanon in Australia's capital city of Canberra.

Now five points clear of second place Palestine in Group I, the Subway Socceroos can edge ever closer to the third round of AFC qualifiers with a fourth win in four matches on Tuesday night.

Last time out, Graham Arnold's men traversed a tricky encounter in front of a boisterous crowd at Parramatta. An early long-range strike for home-town hero Keanu Baccus opened the scoring, before a maiden Kye Rowles goal from a set-piece doubled the lead, with a 2-0 scoreline the end result.

There have been a few adjustments to the squad that started camp almost a week ago, with both Riley McGree and Jordan Bos succumbing to injury during the first game. 

READ MORE: Subway Socceroos Squad Update

Replacing the injured duo, plus the suspended Keanu Baccus, is Socceroo stalwart Craig Goodwin who returns from illness having initially been selected in the squad for the opening clash.

Joining him is Sydney FC full-back Joel King, who enters his first Subway Socceroos camp in almost two years, having been a prominent member of the squad that helped secure qualification for the last FIFA World Cup.

All eyes now turn to the Australian Capital Territory, which has seen it's fair share of entertaining football matches in recent times.

READ MORE: Our previous matches in Canberra

The first international at the now GIO stadium came in 1996, as Australia welcomed Tahiti for that year’s two-legged OFC Nations Cup. Australia went into the second-leg with a commanding 6-0 lead, following a clinical performance at Olympic Stadium in Papeete, with former NSL forward Kris Trajanovski grabbing a four-goal haul.

The Socceroos did not take their foot off the gas, scoring five as Trajanovski notched a hat-trick while Robbie Hooker also got on the scoresheet.

2015 saw an AFC Asian Cup classic between regional neighbours Iran and Iraq which was decided by penalties following a 3-3 draw, while Australia returned later that year, defeating Kyrgyzstan 3-0. Captain Mile Jedinak broke the deadlock from the spot on that night, while Tim Cahill doubled the side’s advantage early in the second half.

Australia’s most recent Canberra outing was a 5-0 win over Nepal in 2019, Jamie Maclaren scored twice inside the first 20 minutes, while Harry Souttar grabbed a debut goal midway through the first period. Souttar scored his second just before the hour mark, and Maclaren notched his hat-trick in the dying embers of the match.

Defender Souttar announced himself to Australian fans that day. On his return to Canberra on Tuesday, he will seek another clean sheet and continue his prolific goalscoring record that he started there around five years ago. 

FIFA World Rankings

Australia: 23rd

Lebanon: 115th


Played: 3
Wins: 3
Draws: 0
Losses: 0


  • The Socceroos have kept eight clean sheets in their last 10 matches, conceding just three goals since October 18, 2023
  • In those last ten matches, the Green and Gold have lost just once - a narrow 2-1 defeat to South Korea - and have drawn one other time, winning the remaining eight
  • In the Socceroos’ last 13 wins, they have kept a clean sheet in all but one match (not including the Peru penalty shootout)
  • Jackson Irvine won 10 ground duels against Lebanon - the most of any player on the field - while losing just one across his 90 minutes played
  • Kusini Yengi has netted goals at a rate of 1.02 per 90 for his club Portsmouth this campaign across a total of 6.88 full matches, while achieving an expected goals of 0.94 per game in this period 

What They Said

Graham Arnold

"Look, I think there will be probably four to five fresh legs that start. It's an important game, you obviously win this game to get through. So it's important that we get that with the focus and the mentality, but most of all the energy in front of a full house to put on a great performance. Looking back at the review of the game, there was some sloppy moments from us and I have addressed the boys individually about those sloppy moments."

"It's about playing the players to their strengths. At the moment, we're short for wingers, and we're playing lopsided and making sure that we're getting, as Jackson said again, playing plays to their strengths and making sure that we're really structured well, and obviously putting that effort and performance in."

"Look, I think it's down to everyone to score as well, but I'm giving players a chance. And I think that's what we've got to do. I've outlined the future for 2025-26 and some older players might not make that and I've got to have a Plan B, and Plan B is making sure that we've got some young ones in as well to learn from the senior ones."

"But also, it's important in every game because these are World Cup qualifiers, and having those senior boys around to get us one step at a time and see how far they can go. So I'm not writing anyone off, it's more about having more more choices."

"Look, I think Kusini [Yengi] is doing exceptionally well. He's got the speed, he's got the strength, he's got 1 v 1 action and I'm very, very happy with him. And I do believe the more experience and having been given more chances, the better he will get."

Jackson Irvine

"We haven't had a window of competitive games against the same opposition in a short space of time. So we're going to be interested to see how they come out for the second game, we know there are in need of a result, but it doesn't really change much from our approach, we are ready for whatever comes our way."

"Whether they come with a bit more pressure or play a little bit higher, it's still a similar approach for us, doesn't change too much about the way we play or our principles. But I expect, obviously, there'll be a lot of intensity in the game, especially with what's at stake for them."

"Yeah, [Keanu Baccus] brings a lot and he's been brilliant for us over the last 12 months. It's just another challenge for us, missing Riley [McGree] and Keanu. Every game there's different challenges thrown our way in terms of personnel but we have enough experience and enough depth and quality within this group to find ways to combat that."

"Our midfielders have got good flexibility across the board, with myself, Aiden [O'Neill], Connor [Metcalfe]. So we've got a number of players who are capable, then of course, you've got Patrick [Yazbek] and Nizzy [Josh Nisbet] here as well. So we've got plenty of players who are capable of adapting into those different midfield positions within the group."

Ajdin Hrustic

READ MORE: Hrustic ready to contribute in attack for Socceroos against Lebanon

“I did lose a bit of time. But you know how football is. You've got your ups and downs, and I've managed to get myself up and running, and I feel great. I feel good, I feel fit. I'm part of the squad now. I'm going to try to do everything just to keep myself fit, keep myself healthy and do what I can.”

“It's the small detail that counts in football and we've touched base on that and I think we’ll improve a lot from last game. We trained a tiny bit on that yesterday, and I think we will a little bit more today, so it should be better next game."

“You're playing at home, you want to dominate, you want to control the game and you want to lead from the first to the last whistle.”

Craig Goodwin

READ MORE: Goodwin declares he is 'ready to go' for Tuesday's record clash in Canberra

“From a team perspective, I thought we adjusted quite well with coming out onto the left and still managing to create some good moments."

“We'll see how we go in today's training and then the training tomorrow and see where we go from there. I'm feeling pretty good but we'll have to see in the two training sessions and have that conversation. But I'm here in whatever capacity I can contribute in.”

“To know that it's going to be a sellout or is going to be or be the biggest crowd that we've played in Canberra is going to be fantastic. Hopefully, it's a very noisy and atmospheric crowd for us, and us players always feed off of that energy, when it's a big crowd and that energy is there."



Subway Socceroos 2-0 Lebanon
Thursday, 21 March 2024
CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Kick-off: 8.10pm AEDT

Lebanon v Subway Socceroos
Tuesday, 26 March 2024
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT
Gates open: 6:00pm AEDT
Tickets: Start from $15 Child, $20 Concession, $25 Adult, and $50 Family via Ticketek
Broadcast: 10 Bold, 10 Play and Paramount+