Khalifa International stadium in Doha will be the likely site of the Socceroos clash with China as they start the third round of AFC 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures on September 2.
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25 Aug 2021 - 3:40 PM  UPDATED 25 Aug 2021 - 3:40 PM

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The fixture was moved to the Doha venue after Football Australia was unsuccessful in negotiations with the Federal Government for quarantine exemptions for players, staff and match officials ahead of the game.

The venue, also known as National Stadium, sits 45,000 fans and will be a venue for the 2022 World Cup.

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It has been nearly two years since the Socceroos last played a fixture in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Football Australia are still hopeful qualifiers against Oman and Saudi Arabia in October and November will go ahead on home soil.

There is also drama surrounding the Socceroos qualifier against Vietnam in Hanoi on September 7, with the match to be played behind closed doors.

The Vietnamese government made the call to shut the doors to the My Dinh Stadium for fans as the country struggles to handle a wave of COVID-19 cases.

Graham Arnold is expected to name his squad for the match later this week but admitted travel restrictions and quarantine requirements would likely impact his selections.

“Nothing's changed in terms of the fact FIFA windows are there for a reason, we expect the players to be there - but there are certain countries that have different restrictions and different ways of quarantining when you go home,” he said.

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"A positive is that we are very fortunate that we've got a good 30 players overseas and they can get out of overseas and come and play wherever we are.

“I would say we're ready, we'll be ready to select a squad like normal, five or six days before the camp, and have everyone ready.”

The resurgence of midfield maestro Tom Rogic under former Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has Arnold excited at his plethora of options in the centre of the park, leading into the matches against China and Vietnam.

"It's great to see that Tommy Rogic starting with Ange (Postecoglou) at Celtic and scoring, Mabil scored in the Champions League against Celtic a few weeks ago, Martin Boyle is on fire at Hibs; there are a lot of great stories out there," Arnold said.

"Tommy is playing under Ange as an eight, so I could always have a great midfield of Mooy, Rogic and Hrustic.

“But I could also play Rogic as a false nine and then you've got Jackson Irvine, so we've got depth. 

"My strategy has always been around the national team you play the players to their strengths. The players make the system, the system doesn't make the players - so we obviously look at making sure we're playing those players in roles that they feel comfortable and their strengths are at.

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"It's just great to see Tommy back on the pitch in doing well." 

No matter how the team lines up in these opening two matches, Arnold has high expectations of his players even though the Socceroos will be forced to play their home matches abroad.

"We've played eight games so far, we're one of two nations that have gone through all eight games undefeated, and we've played seven of those games away from home,” he said.

"So, it is what it is at the moment and I'll be going into those two games very positive. I expect six points from the first two games, and then we're on our journey, on our way."