The Road to Brazil

So far, qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has looked like a dream run for the Qantas Socceroos.

So far, qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has looked like a dream run for the Qantas Socceroos.

With the first round of qualifiers still one match from completion, Australia are on top of group D, six points clear of second-placed Saudi Arabia, and their place in the next round confirmed.

But, as always in football, statistics don-t tell the whole story. Despite the points gap, it hasn-t been as easy as it seems for the Socceroos.

Thailand have proved they are progressing as a footballing national; Australia were somewhat fortunate to claim a 2-1 win at Suncorp Stadium in September 2011, after a home performance that left even the players scratching their heads.

Next came a trip to Dubai for the first match against Saudi Arabia, where a much-improved Socceroos performance saw them claim an impressive 3-1 victory in difficult conditions.

Holger Osieck-s men were at their best again to dispose of Oman 3-0 at ANZ Stadium in October. But it was a different story in Oman a month later, as the home side side inflicted a surprise 1-0 defeat on the Socceroos, a result Lucas Neill said was a reminder not to take things for granted.

Three days later, Australia travelled to Bangkok fuelled by that result and the knowledge that three points would confirm their place in the next round.

Thailand again proved tough competition, doing their best to contain a pragmatic Socceroos side, but ultimately Australia-s professional told, with Brett Holman sealing a crucial 1-0 away victory to secure the points and take Australia one step closer to Brazil 2014.

With one group game left to play, there is still much at stake - if not for Australia, then at least for the fringe Socceroos who are dreaming of a spot on the plane to South America. And with Saudi Arabia needing nothing less than a win to progress, they will push Australia as hard as possible to get the victory they need.

Will Australia finish on a high or will the Saudi-s desire prove stronger? Which players does Qantas Socceroos head coach Holger Osieck have his eye on, and who has what it takes to step up for the green and gold?

Tickets are on sale now for the Qantas Socceroos v Saudi Arabia match at AAMI Park on Wednesday 29 February.

Click here and select any 'Free Flag Offer' category and you'll receive a free Qantas Socceroos flag with every ticket.

Be quick as this offer closes at 9pm this Sunday 5 February or while stocks last.


Qantas Socceroos goalkeeper Adam Federici is 27 today - Happy Birthday Fed!