Bournemouth defender on Australia's crucial WC qualifier

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Brad Smith is locked in a battle with Aziz Behich for a starting spot on the left for the Socceroos in tonight's crucial World Cup qualifier with Iraq

Full back Behich has been a fixture at Bursaspor playing all but one of his side's games in Turkey's Super Lig and has previous experience in the national team. 

Smith has been on the fringes in the Premiership with the Cherries since his move from Liverpool in the off season, but his prodigious fitness and attacking mentality are in his favour. 

STARTING SIDE STILL SECRET

As usual, coach Ange Postecoglou is keeping his players guessing about the make-up of the starting side.

"[It’s] very difficult to see how we're going to line up, I'm not really sure just yet," Smith told FFA TV. 

"In training we've been doing stuff, but it's too hard to tell at the moment, but hopefully I'll be in it."

AUSSIES LOOK TO DOMINATE

The Socceroos will draw on their performance against Iraq the last time the two met, when they secured a 2-0 win at nib Stadium in Perth in September.

"We just need to look back at that and see how we dominated them last time and hopefully do the same again and get a result out here," said Smith.

"They're a good team too, so we've got to make sure we're ready on the day.

"We're unbeaten in the qualifiers so that's a great thing for us to have and [gives us] great confidence going into the game."

BANISHING BANGKOK 

It's been over four months, but the Socceroos will finally have the chance to put their last international result behind them. 

The Socceroos were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw by 127th-ranked Thailand in mid-November to slip outside AFC Group B's two automatic qualifying spots for next year's FIFA World Cup in Russia.

"It was a really weird game for us," said Smith.

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"The conditions were difficult but to be fair to them, they were a good side on the day.

"We've analysed it and put it under the rug and we'll move on to the important game we've got on Thursday."

 

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