After barely surviving their opening World Cup qualifier against Thailand, the Qantas Socceroos journey to Ad Dammam to take on Saudi Arabia.
Date: Wednesday September 7
Kick-off: 3:30am AEST
Venue: Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium, Ad Dammam
TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2
Head-to-head Played 2: Wins: Australia 1, Saudi Arabia 1
Previous meeting Saudi Arabia 1, Australia 0, 1997 Confederations Cup, Saudi Arabia, December 1997
Past five matches: Australia: Australia 2, Thailand 1, World Cup qualifier, Brisbane, September 2011 Wales 2, Australia 1, friendly, Cardiff, August 2011 Australia 0, Serbia 0, friendly, Melbourne, June 2011 Australia 3, New Zealand 0, friendly, Adelaide, June 2011 Germany 1, Australia 2, friendly, Moenchengladbach, March 2011
Saudi Arabia: Oman 0, Saudi Arabia 0, World Cup qualifier, Muscat, September 2011 Hong Kong 0, Saudi Arabia 5, World Cup qualifier, Chai Wan, July, 2011 Saudi Arabia 3, Hong Kong 0, World cup qualifier, Ad Dammam, July 2011 Kuwait 1, Saudi Arabia 0, friendly, Amman, July 2011 Jordan 1, Saudi Arabia 1 (Saudi Arabia won 4-3 on penalties), friendly, Amman, July 2011
Analysis: After barely surviving their opening World Cup qualifier against Thailand at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, the Qantas Socceroos journey to Ad Dammam to take on Saudi Arabia - and their Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard - on Tuesday.
Australia were a goal down after 15 minutes, and despite having the lion's share of possession against Thailand, they lacked a cutting edge in the final third until Nagoya Grampus striker Josh Kennedy found a leveler just before the hour mark.
The Qantas Socceroos then had to wait until the 86th minute for substitute Alex Brosque, now plying his trade in the J-League for Shimizu S-Pulse, to secure three points from their first match in World Cup Asian qualifying Group D.
Both goals came about largely due to the industry of midfielder Matt McKay, with Kennedy's goal the result of Thai goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool failing to hold onto a shot from the former Brisbane Roar skipper, whose cross also created Brosque's late winner.
McKay, who was a standout for the Qantas Socceroos at the Asian Cup in January, recently secured a move to Scottish giants Rangers, and his industry has now seen him become a crucial member of Holger Osieck's starting XI.
There is less certainty regarding the other members of Osieck's midfield, with Carl Valeri and Neil Kilkenny struggling to exert much of an influence against the Thais.
Their form could open the door for Mile Jedinak, now playing for Championship outfit Crystal Palace after two-and-a-half years playing in Turkey.
Rijkaard's squad will be looking to respond from their disappointing 0-0 draw with Oman in their first match, but they will have to do it without defenders Osama Al-Harbi and Abdulla Shuhail who are both out with injury.
The Australians will have to be aware of midfielder Mohammed Al Shalhoub, who's skill and vision could provide headaches, while another influential midfielder - Mohammed Al Shalhoub - is under a fitness cloud heading into the clash.
Finally, the Qantas Socceroos will also have to be prepared for some extreme weather conditions in Ad Dammam, with Tuesday's maximum temperature predicted to be 42C, although things may have cooled a touch by the game's 8.30pm local start time - with the minimum tipped to be 30oC.
Australian squad: Alex Brosque (Shimizu S-Pulse, Japan), Tim Cahill (Everton, England), Nathan Coe (Sonderjysk Elitesport, Denmark), Luke DeVere (Gyeongnam, South Korea), Brett Emerton (Sydney FC, Australia), Adam Federici (Reading, England), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace, England), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus, Japan), Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City, England), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany), Matt McKay (Rangers, Scotland) Mark Milligan (JEF United, Japan), Lucas Neill (Al-Jazira, UAE), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongham Ilwha Chunma, South Korea), Adam Sarota (Utrecht, Netherlands), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham, England), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), James Troisi (Kayserispor, Turkey), Carl Valeri (US Sassuolo Calcio, Italy), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow, Russia), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough, England), Michael Zullo (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Saudi Arabia squad: Waleed Abdullah (Al Shabab), Hassan Al Otaibi (Al Hilal), Hussain Shae'an (Al Shabab), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli) Abdullah Shuhail (Al Shabab), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Hamad Al Montashari (Al Ittihad), Hassan Muath (Al Shabab), Majed Al Marshedi (Al Hilal), Abdullah Al Zori (Al Hilal), Osama Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad), Rashed Al Raheeb (Al Ettifaq) Ahmed Otaif (Al Shabab), Mohammad Al Shalhoub (Al Hilal), Moataz Al Musa (Al Ahli), Saud Kariri (Al Ittihad), Taisir Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Ibrahim Ghaleb (Al Nassr), Saud Hamoud (Al Nassr), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Ettifaq), Ahmed Al Fraidi (Al Hilal), Abdullaziz Al Dosari (Al Hilal) Naif Hazazi (Al Ittihad), Yasser Al Qahtani (Al Ain), Nasser Al Shamrani (Al Shabab), Nawaf Al Abed (Al Hilal), Yousef Al Salem (Al Ettifaq), Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr)
Heat, humidity, altitude and air miles: what the Caltex Socceroos can expect on the road to Qatar
The Caltex Socceroos? road to Qatar 2022 is likely to be a long and winding one, featuring intense heat, humidity, altitude and countless air miles. Having received a bye through their first round of Asian Football Confederation qualifying for FIFA World Cup 2022, Graham Arnol
‘I’m loving being back’: Behich beams about return to Turkey
Caltex Socceroos defender Aziz Behich has his sights set on Champions League football with new club ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir FK after making a ?smooth transition? back into Turkish Football. After spending last season in Holland at PSV Eindhoven, Behich has returned to Turkey where
Gary van Egmond names maiden Young Socceroos squad
New Young Socceroos Head Coach Gary van Egmond today named his maiden squad in charge of Australia?s under-20 men?s national football team. Van Egmond has selected 30 players for a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from Sunday, 28 July 2019 to Fri
Behich: Caltex Socceroos can ‘make a statement in Asia’ on the road to Qatar
Aziz Behich has vowed the Caltex Socceroos are ready to ?make a statement in Asia? during their FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign. The group stage of the second round of Asian Football Confederation qualifiers was drawn on Wednesday night and pitted Australia up against