Socceroos’ quarter-final scenarios

Ahead of the Socceroos' final group game against South Korea on Saturday night, fans can start making quarter-final plans. But who are Ange Postecoglou’s side likely to come up against in the last eight?

We look at the scenarios which will determine the Aussies’ potential quarter-final opponents on January 22 from Group B's teams Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and China.

Most likely quarter-final: Socceroos v Saudi Arabia in Melbourne

The Socceroos are currently out on top of Group A thanks to two big wins over Kuwait (4-1) and Oman (4-0) respectively.

While Korea Republic are also on maximum points, Australia’s superior goal difference means they only require a draw in Saturday night’s blockbuster match-up to secure top spot in the group.

Given their current form, confidence in front of goal and a near sell-out home crowd behind them, it’s hard not to see the Green and Gold get at least a draw against a Korean outfit yet to produce their best.

If it all goes to plan then, the Socceroos would then face the second-placed team in Group B.

That position is currently occupied by Saudi Arabia who take on Uzbekistan in their last match in a straight-out play-off for second spot. 

The Saudis are in the box seat having recovered from their shock first-up loss to China (0-1) to crush North Korea 4-1 in their second match to sit on three points.

You'd have to fancy the confident Saudis. 

Less likely quarter-final: Socceroos v Uzbekistan in Melbourne

Uzbekistan are also on three points but, crucially, have an inferior goal difference to the Saudis after only beating North Korea 1-0, while going down 2-1 to China.

It means the Saudis only require a draw on Sunday evening to finish ahead of Uzbekistan. Tough for the Uzbeks but not impossible given the Saudis' slightly shaky defence. 

If the Uzbeks snatch a win, they'll face the Aussies  in Melbourne. It's possible but a bit of a long shot. 

Least likely quarter-final:  Socceroos v China in Brisbane

China have been the surprise-packets of the tournament so far, registering shock wins over both Saudi Arabia (1-0) and Uzbekistan (2-1) in their first two matches to sit on six points on top of Group B.

With standings in the group going on head-to-head basis before goal difference, the Chinese are assured of top spot regardless of their result against North Korea on Sunday.

So should the Socceroos taste defeat against Korea Republic - not a likely scenario but still possible -  they’ll stay in Brisbane for their quarter-final and take on the in-form Chinese and their army of fans also on Thursday, January 22.