What the Socceroos must do to qual­ify

The Observer - - SPORT | WORLD CUP FOOTBALL -

THIS is it. Tonight, the Socceroos host Hon­duras for one of the last places left at the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia. The sides return from San Pe­dro Sula locked at 0-0 af­ter a tight, tense clash at Es­ta­dio Olimpico. The Socceroos en­joyed the bet­ter of the chances, and will still be won­der­ing how Bailey Wright was not awarded a penalty in the first half af­ter be­ing struck from be­hind by the home team’s goal­keeper. While it was a great out­come not to con­cede a goal, the ques­tion now is, will the missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to snare a pre­cious away goal cost the side at ANZ Sta­dium in Sydney? Although the Hon­durans were un­der­whelm­ing at home, on a soggy pitch, and Aus­tralia has the ad­van­tage of the ex­tra day’s re­cov­ery on the ground in Sydney, the fact re­mains Hon­duras are still one goal away from throw­ing a span­ner in the works. AWAY GOALS Any­one still be­liev­ing the myth that an away goal is worth dou­ble, throw that idea out now. If Aus­tralia win 2-1, 3-2, etc, the Socceroos progress. Away goals are a tiebreaker. If it is an­other 0-0 at 90 minutes, the game will go into ex­tra-time. That is the only sce­nario that will mean ex­tra-time. This is the one dis­ad­van­tage of play­ing at home in the sec­ond leg: away goals still count in ex­tra-time. If it is a score draw of any na­ture, Hon­duras will progress on away goals.

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