WCQ: Australia v Honduras Wednesday 8:00pm (AEDT) at Stadium Australia, Sydney
The Wolf is the first to admit that he got the first leg very wrong. The 0-0 draw was a great result for the Socceroos and what was even more surprising was their complete dominance. Honduras offered next to nothing in attack and will need to make a sharp improvement if they are to deny the Socceroos. The visitors will be up against it in more ways than one. Australia will have the advantage of additional rest thanks to a chartered flight, a huge home crowd and substantially more depth. Based on the first leg there is no reason why Australia cannot settle this tie in the first half.
Can there be extra-time?
There is only one scoreline which would lead to extra time and it is 0-0. Victory for either side would see them qualify and a score draw (1-1, 2-2, 3-3 ect) would result in Honduras qualifying on the away goals rule.
Where will it be won?
If the Socceroos can take their chances this one could be over at half time. They were guilty of very several genuine chances in Honduras and cannot afford the same complacency in front of goal. The match will take on a very different complexion to that at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano. The surface in Honduras was abysmal with players taking out chunks of grass. In contrast the surface at Homebush is all but perfect. With no rain at all leading into the game The Socceroos will have the ideal pitch for their passing game.
Midfield again holds the key but The Wolf says we will see several changes. Luongo and Irvine were two of Australia’s best in Honduras but they along with Jedinak are likely to be rotated. Rogic and Milligan are almost certainties to join Mooy in midfield with Leckie and Troisi also likely to play a role. The back trio is likely to remain – especially after the Socceroos maintained their first clean sheet in 10 matches.
Will we see Tim Cahill?
Cahill has stated that he is confident that he can take part on Wednesday evening but The Wolf suspects he will start on the bench where he could make an immediate impact if needed in the second half. It would be a massive risk to start him. If he had to come off early it would not only mean an early substitution but would also have an adverse effect on team morale. Conversely, if the game were in the balance and Cahill number were to come up on the board the crowd would go crazy and there would be a huge lift throughout the entire squad. It makes sense for Ange to keep Cahill as the ace up the sleeve.
Australia will take complete control of the centre of the park and on that basis alone they should be able to prevent Honduras from posing any threat. The Wolf was shocked at how easily the Socceroos were able to win the ball back in midfield in the 1st leg and cannot see how Honduras can reverse that pattern. The Socceroos can make life hard for themselves if they are wasteful in front of goal but The Wolf says the initial focus will be on taking control and preventing any counter-attacks. The Wolf doesn’t expect things to open up at any point. The Socceroos should take the lead prior to the hour mark and the nerves will be put to bet with a second goal late on. It’s been a long, hard road but the Socceroos will get it done.
Best: Australia WIN ($1.60) Other: Under 2.5 goals ($1.61) Value: Teams To Score – Australia Only ($2.25) Correct Score: Australia 2-0 ($6.50)