The Australian national soccer team took it down to the wire by eventually qualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup through the play-offs. The Socceroos left it late by drawing their first leg play off to Honduras before their magnificent second leg showing on 15 November 2017. The national team had it all to do in front of their home fans when they played their second leg against Honduras in Sydney. Australia managed to qualify for their fourth successive World Cup, but were close to missing out. Australia has a shown a history of valiant fighting to qualify for previous World Cups and have proven themselves once again.
Thanks to the deliverance by a Mile Jedinak hat-trick, Australia are through the World Cup in Russia. However, their problems are still far from over as things stand. The national team’s qualification process was plagued with uncertainty, which translated onto the pitch for the players. Question marks surrounded the Australian soccer team’s camp as to whether head coach, Ange Postecoglou’s, would still be in charge for much longer. Now that they’ve qualified, Australian soccer needs to revaluate their stance on the head coach. Controls also need to be put in place for the next phase of the journey, which is impressing on the World Cup stage next year.
Afterall, Postecoglou has written his name in the history books by becoming the first Australian to take his team to the biggest event in soccer. That, along with winning the Asian Cup leaves him with quite an impressive scoresheet, no matter what his future holds.
Another concern that needs urgent attention is being able to score from open play. The first leg play-off against Honduras ended in a 0-0 stalemate, with neither side threatening to take initiative. The second leg looked to mirror this trend, until Jedinak’s deflected free kick put the Socceroos in front. The other two goals came from the penalty spot. This will take a goof mixture of experience from players like Tim Cahill and flare from the likes of Jedinak.
32 Countries will compete in next year’s World Cup hosted in Russia. Here are all 32 teams who will be drawn into eight groups of four for the first round of the World Cup:
Europe: Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium, Iceland, Switzerland, Croatia, Sweden, and Denmark.
South America: Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Columbia, and Peru.
Central America: Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.
Africa: Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Senegal.
Asia: Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.