Match Preview: Socceroos v China

The Socceroos are back on the road as they travel to the United Arab Emirates to face China on Wednesday morning at 2am (AEDT).

After a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia on Thursday night in their first game back on home soil in over two years, Australia will be hoping to gain all three points against China.

The match, which was originally scheduled to be played in China, takes place in the UAE at the Sharjah Stadium due to travel restrictions.

Socceroos China Banner

China have four points in Group B and are in desperate need of three points to keep their faint World Cup qualification hopes alive. 

While there is plenty on the line for China, failure to win for the Socceroos could see them drop out of the top two automatic qualification places for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. 

A third-place finish would send the Socceroos to a play-off against the third-place team from Group A, followed by an intercontinental play-off.

Australia is one point ahead of Japan, who are third on nine points, while Oman is fourth with seven points.

The last time the Socceroos faced off against China, Australia recorded a 3-0 victory to get off to the perfect start in Round 3 of FIFA World Cup qualifying in September. 

Socceroos
The last time Australia played China, the Socceroos recorded a 3-0 victory.

While Australia comfortably brushed aside China in their last meeting, history suggests the match will be a tight affair. 

Australia have won eight of the previous 18 meetings while China have won eight and two draws have been played out.

The Socceroos will be without Harry Souttar for the match, who has been ruled out due to a knee injury sustained against Saudi Arabia. 

As a result of the injury, Kuwait SC defender Ryan McGowan and Sunderland AFC defender Bailey Wright have both been called up while Melbourne City FC forward Andrew Nabbout has returned to his club.

China, on the other hand, will be hoping that star attacker Wu Lei can continue his goalscoring form. 

The 29-year-old, who plays for Spanish La Liga club Espanyol, has scored three goals in five matches in Group B so far. 

Elsewhere in Group B, Vietnam hosts Saudi Arabia while Japan travels to Oman.

How to watch

Once again, the action will be broadcast live and free on Australia's 'Home of Football,' Network Ten.  

Kicking off at 2am AEDT, the match will be shown on Channel 10 across the nation. 

Fans nationwide can also stream the action wherever they are via 10 Play app and website.  To watch all of the latest involving Socceroos and the rest of Asian Qualifying, visit https://10play.com.au/socceroos

For fans based outside of Australia, click here to read about how you can continue to access the action.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)

Matchday 6: China PR v Australia

Date: Tuesday, 16 November 2021 (Wednesday, 17 November AEDT)
Venue: Sharjah Stadium, United Arab Emirates
Kick-off: 8pm local time, 2am AEDT
Broadcast: Live and free in Australia on Channel 10 & simulcast on 10 Play

World Ranking

Australia: 34
China: 75

Current standings

australia results half way point after round-5

What they said 

Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold

“We're in a great spot, it's all in our hands.

“If you've got something that's in your hands, you're in a great position rather than having to rely on other results.

The most important thing now is that we go and play China and get three points and have a great Christmas.”

China head coach  Li Tie

"After five games, we saw the gap between us and those best Asian teams, but it doesn't mean that we have no chance at all.

"We must go all out and leave no regrets on the pitch. The Australian team is a strong opponent and we have to do our best to fight for a victory."

What's next for the Socceroos?

The Socceroos regroup at the end of January 2022 for matches against Vietnam and Oman. Due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, match locations and times will be finalised in the immediate lead-up to each window. 

To qualify for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup™, Australia must finish either first or second in Group B, which will conclude in March 2022, to qualify directly.

A third-place finish would send the Socceroos to a play-off against the third-place team from Group A, followed by an intercontinental play-off.