2014 World Cup qualifying preview: Australia v Japan
Asia's top-two ranked nations will meet in the final round of AFC World Cup qualifying, with the Socceroos chasing their first win against an in-form Samurai Blue outfit
By Ben Somerford
North, Neill, Ognenovski, Carney
Wilkshire, Valeri, Bresciano, McKay
Uchida, Kurihara, Konno, Nagatomo
Okazaki, Hasebe, Honda, Endo, Kagawa
The Socceroos arrived back in their homeland on Sunday fatigued after a long journey home from Oman, where they played out a scoreless draw in searing heat in their opening AFC 2014 World Cup qualifying.
The performance in Muscat was not overly convincing and coach Holger Osieck may look to make changes, with plenty of talk about a possible start for Tim Cahill, who has a good goalscoring history against Japan.
Towering Nagoya striker Joshua Kennedy has had a lot of success in the J-League and could also push for a start, while the energetic Brett Holman appears set to miss again after his partner gave birth to their second child.
Alberto Zaccheroni's side head to Australia with plenty of pressure off their shoulders after two comfortable opening victories at home in the final round of qualifying, with Keisuke Honda impressive with four goals.
As a result, Zaccheroni has a settled side, although central defender Maya Yoshida was injured in the 6-0 win over Jordan and looks set to be replaced by Yuzo Kurihara.
The 189cm tall Yoshida may be missed in defence, particularly given Australia's aerial threat.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last time these two nations met was in the final of the 2011 Asian Cup, which Japan dramatically won 1-0 in extra time thanks to Tadanari Lee's [pictured] volley.
- Australia defeated Japan on home turf 2-1 in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, while their clash in Yokohama was a goalless draw.
- The Socceroos have been held scoreless in their past two games, drawing 0-0 in Oman and losing 2-0 away to Denmark. But on home soil they have been far more prolific, netting 12 goals in their past three games in Australia.
- Australia's rugby union team the Wallabies played an international against Wales at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, leaving the pitch is less-than ideal condition.
- Japan have scored nine goals in their opening two final-round 2014 World Cup qualifiers, although both games were played at home.
- The Samurai Blue do not seem to regularly venture outside Japan, with their past five matches played in the Land of the Rising Sun.
- In the third round of qualifying, Japan had an unconvincing away record, with one win, one draw and one loss on the road.
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Top 3 Predictions
Australia 0-2 Japan
- 15.41 %
Australia 1-2 Japan
- 15.03 %
Australia 1-3 Japan
- 12.09 %
|Asia - EAFF East Asian Cup (EAFF)||25/07/2013||Japan 3 - Australia 2|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||04/06/2013||Japan 1 - Australia 1|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||12/06/2012||Australia 1 - Japan 1|
|Asia - Asian Cup (ASIA)||30/01/2011||Australia 0 - Japan 1|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||18/06/2009||Australia 2 - Japan 1|
|19/11/2013||Australia 1 - Costa Rica 0||FR|
|16/10/2013||Canada 0 - Australia 3||FR|
|12/10/2013||France 6 - Australia 0||FR|
|08/09/2013||Brazil 6 - Australia 0||FR|
|28/07/2013||Australia 3 - China 4||EAFF|
|2||Lucas Edward Neill||Defender|
|3||Mark Daniel Milligan||Defender|
|9||Joshua Blake Kennedy||Striker|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed