Australia Suffers Major Setbacks in Qualifying for the World Cup 2022

World Cup 2022
Australia suffers a setback

The football craze around the world is off the charts. The final round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers is officially over, and we now move to the playoffs. While passing the rounds was a breeze for some countries, many teams have struggled as well. 

After securing a phenomenal win against West African Rivals Nigeria, Ghana has qualified for their fourth World Cup. However, things do not seem to be looking up for the Socceroos. The Australian team was unable to power through the AFC World Cup qualifiers and could not secure a coveted spot in the FIFA World Cup 2022, being hosted in Qatar.

The road ahead is difficult as massive games are lined up for the Australian national team in the June playoffs. Can they redeem themselves and lift the nation’s spirits by making good use of this second chance?

Recap of the Qualifiers

Even before the final match against Saudi Arabia, Australia’s defeat at the hands of Japan had already ensured that automatic qualification was out of the team’s grasp. Moreover, suffering a 1-0 defeat against an emerging football team like Saudi Arabia should serve as a reality check for the Aussies.

However, the Socceroos managed to salvage the situation by securing the third spot by the end of the qualifiers. A third-place finish provides them with another two fixtures during the playoffs to somehow recover from this situation. 

The Australian team hasn’t found themselves in a similar situation since 2002. The 1978-2002 time period was a challenging time for the sport since the team consecutively failed to qualify for the biggest football event in the world, and Australian fans do not want history to repeat itself.

Heading into the qualifiers in good form, they performed poorly against Oman, one of the main underdogs in the World Cup qualifying rounds. After this loss, the team only needed to secure two wins in their final two matches.

The stress of winning both matches coupled with the team’s loss of form resulted in another brutal 2-0 defeat against Japan, ending all hope for automatic qualification for the World Cup. 

Additionally, the 1-0 defeat in the last leg against Saudi Arabia must have been an overkill for Australia’s morale. Now, all hopes rely on the team’s performance in the much anticipated fourth round.

Expectations in the Fourth Round

The fourth round starts on June 7th as all third-place holders prepare to face off against each other during a deciding playoff. The playoffs will not have two legs, and therefore the teams will have to deliver their best performance.

Australia is set to play against the United Arab Emirates on the decisive date. The UAE team has only played one edition of the World Cup before and will be the underdogs in this face-off. Moreover, the team only managed to score a total of seven goals in the last stage, so things might not be so bleak for the Australian team.

However, a win against the UAE will only be the first in two decisive matches for the Australians. The second fixture matches the winning team of the AFC’s fourth round and the CONMEBOL (South America) region’s fifth placeholder. As such, a 7th June victory will pair them with Peru for a heated Inter-Confederation Playoff on either the 13th or 14th. 

The rivalry between the two teams dates back to the group stages for the 2018 World Cup when the Socceroos suffered a controversial 2-0 defeat against the Peruvians, resulting in them being knocked out of the World Cup.

The potential match is sure to bring back bad memories for the Australians, considering the “off-side goal” controversy, and not to mention that the 2018 win was Peru’s first return to football ever since 1982!

As Ghana and Senegal make their way to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022, the Australians are left biting their nails at the edges of their seats. The Socceroos have one final chance to redeem themselves and give the fourth round their best shot. 

In conclusion, the Australian football team needs to work on their coordination and overall performance on both sides of the field since they only scored 15 goals in the previous 10 matches and conceded 10. However, if they manage to come out on top, they’ll have the privilege to play with the best teams in Qatar. The draws have already taken place, and a potential win will group the Socceroos with France, Denmark, and Austria!