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Australia vs Japan, Socceroos, World Cup qualifier, live, results, scores, kick-off, video, highlights

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Welcome to live coverage of the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier against Japan. Follow all the live action in our blog blow!

Kick-off: 9:14pm AEDT.

Graham Arnold’s Socceroos are within touching distance of qualifying for their fifth straight World Cup campaign.

A win against the Blue Samurai will all but seal qualification for Qatar 2022.

While Japan have lost two of their past three matches, the Blue Samurai have proved a thorn in the Socceroos’ hearts for more than a decade.

Although Australia will head to Tokyo full of confidence after beating the nation that defeated Japan back on matchday one, Arnold’s men have lost their seven matches against the nation, a run that stretches back to 2009.

But Arnold attempted to heap the pressure back on his opponents.

“The Japanese no doubt have all the pressure on them because they have only won one game out of three,” he said.

“Every time we step out on the field we expect to win the game. We will do that again on Tuesday.”

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Arnold, however, said the Socceroos needed to respect their opponents but make sure they build on their own winning momentum, having won 11 straight.

“I think the Japanese DNA is that they have always had very technical and skilful players,” he said.

“Japan have many players playing in top leagues around the world, in Europe, and plenty of players that have a lot of qualities to really hurt opposition teams. We need to respect that, of course.

“We will be looking to take advantage of the form that we have, the momentum we have, and who we are as a team at the moment to really come here and put Japan under pressure. We are confident that we can get the win.”

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Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, who job is squarely on the line, remained confident his side can get back on track.

“We got tired and lost our rhythm against Saudi Arabia, that’s when they capitalised and scored,” he said. “If we don’t give up, I believe we can still win a ticket to the World Cup.”

Tuesday’s night clash against Japan will be Arnold’s 19th match from 22 games in charge since taking over Dutchman Bert van Marwijk in 2018 to have been played on foreign soil.

WHAT’S NEXT?

To qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup, Australia must finish either first or second in Group B, which includes ten matches to be played from September 2021 to March 2022, to qualify directly.

A third-place finish would send the Socceroos to a play-off against the third-place team from Group A, followed by an intercontinental play-off

WORLD RANKING

Australia: 32

Japan: 26

DATE: Tuesday, 12 October 2021

VENUE: Saitama Stadium, Saitama, Japan

KICK-OFF: 7.14pm local (9.14pm AEDT)

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Socceroos vs Oman, FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, news, scores, player ratings, Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, video

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The Socceroos outlasted Oman in a gripping and often scrappy World Cup qualifier, to extend Australia’s record to a remarkable world-first 11-straight victories.

The Australians were fortunate to have conceded just the single goal in the 3-1 win given some defensive woes, while a number of players were guilty of sloppiness in possession.

Here’s how we rated every player in the milestone win.

READ MORE: Socceroos pass tough test to clinch record 11th-straight win on road to Qatar WC

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Mabil lashes home early opener! | 00:27

Socceroos XI (4-2-3-1): Mat Ryan, Rhyan Grant, Trent Sainsbury, Harry Souttar, Aziz Behich, Jackson Irvine, Ajdin Hrustic, Tom Rogic, Martin Boyle, Awer Mabil, Adam Taggart.

Mat Ryan – 7.5

Ryan was forced into a trio of tough saves in the first half, parrying dangerous attempts from Zahir Al Aghbari. There was nothing the Australian gloveman could do about the goal, but he did well to save a tough one-on-one in the second period, and ran out of his box and chested away a tricky long ball as part of his sweeper duties. Looked assured despite the constant threat Australia was facing on the counter. His passing, usually so dependable, was unusually error-prone.

Rhyan Grant – 5

Grant failed to have his usual impact charging down the sideline going forward, particularly in the first half. He was guilty of giving away possession too easily – as were many of his teammates – and was also caught out of position by attackers more than once. He was marking striker Khalid Hajri when he teed up Rabia Al-Mandhar for Oman’s goal, and could have done better to clear the danger.

Grant’s tireless work was crucial in setting up the second goal for the Aussies, as he forced a defender into a poor pass that went straight to Rogic in Oman’s defensive third.

Trent Sainsbury – 5

Australia’s defence was uncharacteristically nervous in the first half, and could easily have conceded three or four goals had Oman been more clinical. As the veteran central defender, Sainsbury must carry some of the burden for the disorganised back line.

He was physical and gritty as ever, but won just won of his six duels and was beaten on and off the ball too often. His finest moment came on the brink of halftime as he shut down a dangerous counter-attack, shielding the ball inside his own box for Ryan to dive on it.

Harry Souttar – 5.5

Not Souttar’s finest outing – although the same can be said of just about every Socceroos player. Souttar was well beaten by the first touch from Al-Mandhar for the goal, suckered into moving his body to block the feint and then unable to block the shot. But take nothing away from the goal itself, which was a lovely touch and unstoppable finish. Souttar was also caught out in the 64th minute when Al-Mandhar was again played through on goal with a lovely lobbed ball, and the towering defender was lucky that the one-on-one attempt was saved by Ryan.

To his credit, Souttar made a couple of key interceptions and diving blocks, and was imperious in the air.

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Aziz Behich was constantly under pressure but was always looking to attack.
Aziz Behich was constantly under pressure but was always looking to attack.Source: AFP

Aziz Behich – 6

Back in the line-up with Brad Smith out with Covid-19, Behich got higher up the field than Grant but often failed to take advantage of his position. His combination with Awer Mabil left a little to be desired. Both launched a host of balls into the box but their delivery was disappointing. Behich did well enough defensively but failed to really grab the opportunity to cement his place as the first choice left back.

Jackson Irvine – 5.5

Irvine is still adapting to his deeper midfield role than we have seen in previous years. Some aspects of his performance in that regard were very pleasing – his tough tackling and reading of the game to break up play were all positive. He made four interceptions and a couple of key tackles, but won just three of his 11 duels.

In an extremely congested midfield his passing radar was subpar and he coughed up the ball too cheaply. Earned a 78th-minute yellow card and was subbed two minutes later.

Jackson Irvine battled hard.Source: Getty Images

Ajdin Hrustic – 6.5

Hrustic loves bursting forward through the midfield and unsettling defences, but Oman’s disciplined midfield largely stifled that run. After a slow start he fought his way into the match. He had easily the most touches in the game, and his passing percentage was the highest of any starter (93.6%). He also won an impressive 8 of 11 duels, the most of any player.

Tom Rogic – 5.5

He probably would have hoped for more on the special occasion of his 50th appearance in the green and gold.

His passing was very poor – making just two-thirds of his 21 attempts, and he struggled to find space to get on the ball often enough. But Rogic has the ability to create moments of magic, setting up the second goal with a perfect cutback for Adam Taggart through a defender’s legs. Taken off after 63 minutes.

Martin Boyle – 7

Boyle’s confidence and great form was on full display. His bravery to launch throw himself at the ball for his goal – and potentially cop a boot to the face – was the kind of effort that managers love. He ran hard and pressed well from the front, and he could have easily had a penalty for a push in the back. Graham Arnold said of his performance: “He truly believes in himself a lot and he is a poacher. I couldn’t be happier.”

Should have done better when he was charging towards goal in the second half and failed to pass to his two unmarked teammates. His four corners were poor.

Martin Boyle couldn’t convert this strong opportunity.Source: Getty Images

Awer Mabil – 7.5

Mabil scored with the very first shot of the game in the ninth minute. His first touch took him out of reach of two defenders, his second a vicious half-volley which beat the keeper despite the gloveman getting a hand to the ball. It was Mabil’s sixth goal in 20 Socceroos appearances – a strong return – and he continues to develop apace in his all-round ability. Arnold said after the match: “Awer Mabil is going up higher and higher at his level of the game.”

His crossing underwhelmed, and he should have added a second goal when he headed wide of the back post from six yards out in the second half.

Adam Taggart – 6

With a deep Oman defensive block offering him little time or space, it was hard for Taggart to get involved. He took three shots – one of which rebounded to Boyle to score – but he’ll be disappointed at failing to find the scoresheet. His work off the ball was good, with neat diagonal runs to open up space.

Aaron Mooy worked hard to help Australia control the ball.Source: Getty Images

SUBSTITUTES

Aaron Mooy – 6.5

The game changed when Mooy entered the field as the tempo slowed, Australia enjoyed longer spells of possession, and the frenzied sloppiness of the first half calmed. His influence also allowed Hrustic to push forward. Mooy passed reasonably well, made an interception and four recoveries, and did exactly what Arnold would have expected in his 27 minutes on the park.

Mitch Duke – 6.5

Threw himself into everything that came his way, ruffling a few feathers of the opposition defence and drawing their full attention – which helped his teammates find greater opportunities. Ran very hard and his high pressing from the top of the defence was crucial to seeing off the game. Scored once with all the calmness and composure we’ve come to expect from him, but could certainly have scored another when a Fran Karacic cross found his head in the six-yard box.

Fran Karacic – 7.5

Ten minutes, one assist (with his only pass of the game) and Karacic could have had another with a well-weighted cross. You can’t ask for much more, really. Sure, Oman had slowed down and gifted him plenty of time on the ball, but Karacic wasted no time once he entered the fray. Very willing to get forward and into the box, and looked sharp after missing last month’s clashes due to injury. Could well be in contention to start against Japan.

Jimmy Jeggo – 5.5

Came on for the final 10 minutes, and kept things settled but hardly had a touch.

Chris Ikonomidis – 5.5

With just five minutes on the park, Ikonomidis was involved in the third goal when he teed up Karacic to make the assist for Duke. Just the second A-League player in the squad behind Rhyan Grant, who remained in Scotland and trained with Boyle at Hibernian ever since last month’s matches. Very hard to see Awer Mabil or Martin Boyle losing their starting roles, but depth in the wide positions could be crucial going forward.

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