Who’ll start for Caltex Socceroos against Syria?

The first leg of the World Cup qualification playoffs begin with a tricky test in Melaka against Syria on Thursday night.

Who’ll line up for the Green and Gold?

We try to predict who the boss will play in a 3-4-3.

Keeper: Mat Ryan

Good form in the EPL means Ryan remains number one in the national team for this important game.

Mat Ryan


Left sided central defender: Matt Jurman

Playing on the left of a back three for his K-League club – and playing regularly for Suwon Bluewings – means Jurman is a strong choice to start. Experienced enough to slot in, in such a big game.

Matthew Jurman is in line to start against Syria on Thursday night.


Central defender: Trent Sainsbury

Too good to be left out, the one-time Inter Milan loan player exudes class. His timing in tackles and reading of the game will be critical.

Central defender: Trent Sainsbury


Right sided central defender: Milos Degenek

With Bailey Wright out suspended, the versatile Degenek is likely to slot in across the back three. Playing regularly in Japan with Yokohama F. Marinos, the 23-year-old has become a regular under Ange and is starting to repay the faith with some assured performances. 

Milos Degenek feels Australia's home record will play a big part against Thailand on Tuesday night.


Central midfielder: Mark Milligan

Immensely important to the Socceroos, Milligan’s range of passing, game awareness and fitness will be absolutely key in place of injured number six (and captain) Mile Jedinak. Can also push on and create along with Mooy.

Mark Milligan was one of Australia's best in their 2-1 win over Thailand.


Central midfielder: Aaron Mooy

Too good not to play as Australia search for a winning platform ahead of the second leg in Sydney. Expect him to take all corners and set pieces too.

Aaron Mooy in training with the Caltex Socceroos in Melaka.


Wingback left side: Aziz Behich

Super fit and a super choice as the left sided wingback, the Turkey based Behich offers drive and a great attacking option on the left.

Left wing-back: Aziz Behich


Wingback right side: Mat Leckie

Leckie’s engines, like Behich’s, are fantastic. And in such humid conditions, these two will be key in forcing the Syrians to keep up in the hot conditions. Is also in great form for Hertha Berlin with four goals from seven games.

Leckie says he's unfazed by his new wing-back role with the Caltex Socceroos.


Central striker: Tomi Juric

Now a regular up front, his club form has been strong and can be relied to press high and lead the line in place of Tim Cahill.

Tomi Juric netted the opener in Australia's win over Thailand in Melbourne.


Second striker: Jackson Irvine

Has arrived in camp fresher than most (he didn’t play on the weekend) and like Rogic, provides a goal threat from in behind Juric. He also works his socks off for the team and will track back and press in midfield, too.

Jackson Irvine says he is re-energised ahead of the clash with Syria.


Second striker: Tom Rogic

Give him sight of goal and Rogic can be lethal. We like him closer to goal and that’s where he may be on Thursday night.

Caltex Socceroos star Tom Rogic on the ball during Australia's 2-2 draw with Thailand in November.