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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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