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Oct 7, 2021 at 7.30pm UK
AustraliaAustralia
3-1
OmanOman
Mabil (9'), Boyle (49'), Duke (89')
Grant (31'), Irvine (78')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Al Alawi (28')
Al Alawi (39'), Sulaiman Rashid Al Busaidi (58')

Preview: Australia vs. Oman - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Australia vs. Oman - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying - Asia clash between Australia and Oman, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Australia will look to continue their perfect record in the World Cup 2022 qualifiers on Thursday, when they meet Oman at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The team from down under currently sit top of Group B, whilst their opponents sit third, having pulled off a shock victory in their first game.


Match preview

As is often the case in the early stages of qualification in the AFC, Australia destroyed the competition in the second qualifying round, winning all eight games and conceding just two goals.

The Socceroos have seemingly carried that form into the next stage too, winning their first two matches in the third round without conceding a goal.

Two goals in two minutes from Awer Mabil and Martin Boyle set Graham Arnold's side on their way in the first Group B match, with Mitchell Duke adding a third in the 70th minute to secure a comfortable 3-0 win over China in Doha.

A trip to Hanoi to take on Vietnam in their next game proved tougher, but Rhyan Grant's first international goal edged a narrow 1-0 victory which sees them topping the group on goal difference from Saudi Arabia.

The pandemic has made life particularly difficult for Australia, as ongoing restrictions in their home country mean the Socceroos cannot play international matches on their own turf - a significant blow to a side that has lost just one home World Cup qualifying fixture since the early 1980s - hence another trip to Doha for what would have been a home game.

Nonetheless, they remain one of the favourites to progress to the World Cup finals for a fifth consecutive time, and have started this round in the perfect manner.

Oman, on the other hand, were expected to have been satisfied just to reach this stage of qualification for the third time.

The Reds progressed by finishing as runner-up to Asian champions Qatar in Group E, winning an impressive six of their eight games, despite a shaky start where they fell behind to India in their opening game.

They appear to be dreaming big this campaign, however, and secured a shock 1-0 victory in their first game of the third qualifying round, beating Japan away from home thanks to an 88th-minute winner from Issam Al Sabhi.

Another tough match against Saudi Arabia five days later saw them end up on the other end of the same scoreline, despite a strong performance, but they can be reasonably pleased to have taken three points from those two fixtures and with the effect that new manager Branko Ivankovic appears to have had on the team.

They now face an even bigger challenge, as they try to come away with something against a team on a run of 10 consecutive wins, but can perhaps draw on the momentum of an emphatic 7-2 friendly win over Nepal last week.

Australia World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Oman World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Oman form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Australia have called up Sunderland's Bailey Wright to replace Milos Degenek for the upcoming qualifiers after the defender tested positive for COVID-19.

Fellow defender Brad Smith also missed out on the squad due to a positive COVID-19 test, but right-back Fran Karacic returns after missing the last two matches through injury.

Arnold will be pleased that there are no current travel restrictions to prevent key man Aaron Mooy - of Shanghai Port FC - from playing, and the midfielder is certain to dictate things in the middle of the park.

The unenviable task of replacing Oman's greatest footballer of all time has fallen on Faiz Al-Rushaidi - having taken over as number one following the retirement of the iconic Ali Al-Habsi - but the goalkeeper has fared well, conceding just once in the first two games.

The match-winner from the Japan game, Al Sabhi, is once again in the squad and will surely be considered after the team failed to score against Saudi Arabia when he was left on the bench.

Australia possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Behich, Souttar, Sainsbury, Grant; Irvine, Mooy, Rogic; Boyle, Duke, Mabil

Oman possible starting lineup:
Al-Rushaidi; Al Harthi, Al Khamisi, Al Habsi, Al-Busaidi; Al Aghbari, Al-Saadi, Fawaz; Al-Yahyaei; Al-Alawi, Al-Hajri


We say: Australia 2-0 Oman

Oman have showed real progress of late - and appear to have developed a stubborn defence under Ivankovic - but the class in the Socceroos' ranks will surely be too much for them. We expect the scoreline to remain respectable, though.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea75111531216
2Liverpool74301761115
3Manchester CityMan City74211431114
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd7421146814
5Everton7421138514
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton742185314
7Brentford7331106412
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs7403610-412
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham73221410411
10Aston Villa7313109110
11Arsenal7313510-510
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves730456-19
13Leicester CityLeicester7223912-38
14Crystal Palace7142811-37
15Watford7214710-37
16Leeds UnitedLeeds7133714-76
17Southampton7043510-54
18Burnley7034511-63
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle7034816-83
20Norwich CityNorwich7016216-141
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