Australia can extend their lead in Group B in the Asian World Cup qualifiers against Oman, which toppled Japan earlier in qualifying this morning (5.30am AEDT).
The Socceroos can make history by becoming the first national team to win 11 consecutive matches in a FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign by beating Oman in Doha on Friday morning.
But fearing an unwanted distraction, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold did not discuss the potential record with his players.
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“We may be able to come back to that in the years to come after we qualify for the World Cup,” said Arnold.
“The most important thing for me, and I have said this to all the players … is that we are focusing on this game against Oman and making sure we get the job done here and move on from there. ‘before.”
The Socceroos won eight straight games in the previous round of the playoffs and confirmed that with two more wins – over China and Vietnam – last month to lead Group B with six points after two third-round games.
The top two teams from Groups A and B automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The 1-0 victory over Vietnam in scorching conditions in Hanoi and bumpy terrain wasn’t pretty to see, but Arnold said the priority was to collect three points.
“I received an article from a very experienced Socceroo who said this was one of Mark Schwarzer’s best results,” he said.
“In these types of conditions it’s the result rather than the performance … but I always expect a great performance.”
One “great performance” should be enough for the Socceroos to beat Oman, but Arnold won’t underestimate a side that beat Japan last month, which Australia will meet in Saitama next Tuesday night.
“We respect every opposition because my expectations revolve around our performance,” he said.
“We will improve each time we meet. In the last camp we did very well, but I also expect an improvement in these performances.
“All the boys are happy and we are ready.”
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This includes Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant, who, rather than returning to Australia after last month’s playoffs and being forced to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine, has stayed overseas and is trained with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian.
“Rhyan Grant is in great shape. We are very grateful to Hibs for having Rhyan and keeping him in great shape, ”said Arnold. ‘
‘He looks great. He arrived with a lot of energy. He had a great experience at Hibs, and he looks very fit and well.
Grant and Melbourne Victory forward Chris Ikonomidis are the only two current A-League players in the 25-man Socceroos squad.
“Chris Ikonomidis looks great. (Victory Coach) Tony Popovic and the Melbourne Victory team did a fantastic job with Chris, ”said Arnold.
“He spent four or five weeks in a row in Melbourne where he worked extremely hard. He looks extremely fit and ready to go.
Possible Socceroos XI: Mat Ryan, Rhyan Grant, Trent Sainsbury, Harry Souttar, Aziz Behich, Jackson Irvine, Ajdin Hrustic, Tom Rogic, Martin Boyle, Awer Mabil, Adam Taggart.
2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar – AFC Asian Qualifiers (Third Round)
Day 3: Australia v Oman
Friday October 8
Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kick-off: 5:30 a.m. AEDT
Broadcast: live on 10 and 10 Play – pre-match coverage from 5 a.m. (AEDT)
Follow Australia v Oman in our live blog below!