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Australia will return to the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha– the same venue that Australia defeated China PR 3-0 at on matchday one – next week as the team’s journey towards Qatar 2022 continues.
Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold believes the outcome of playing in Qatar is a good one for the team, with the familiar surrounds of the Khalifa International Stadium a positive for the group given the Socceroos are unable to return to Australia for the early October fixture.
We’ve played many matches in the Middle East over the past few years and have built a strong record in the region,” Arnold said.
“We are again very thankful to the Qatar Government and Qatar Football Association for enabling us to play this match on neutral territory in Doha. This arrangement provides an interim solution for the Socceroos before we begin to play our qualifiers on home soil again, we anticipate in November.
It could be the last ‘home’ game the Socceroos are forced to play on the road with new hope their November qualifier will be played in Australia.
The NSW government recently gave Football Australia the green light for the Matildas to host games against Brazil at Western Sydney's CommBank Stadium on October 23 and 26.
The governing body had proposed a comprehensive biosecurity plan - which allows for arrivals to bypass the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine and instead remain in bubbles before games, having no contact with the general public.
The decision opens the door for the possibility of the Socceroos to face Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier on November 11 in the harbour city.
“We have made it our priority to bring our national teams home for international football so this is a phenomenal outcome for Australian football and one which we have been working tirelessly towards behind the scenes with both the Federal and NSW Government for a considerable amount of time now and appreciate the efforts of the NSW Government in particular,” FFA CEO James Johnson said.
Standing between the Socceroos and a long-awaited return down under is crucial qualifiers against Oman and then against Japan in Saitama on October 12.
Australia are top of group B after beating China 3-0 in Doha, then Vietnam 1-0 in Hanoi.
Oman is third in the standings after beating Japan 1-0 away and losing to Saudia Arabia 1-0 at home.
Both matches are crucial to the Socceroos World Cup qualification hopes and Graham Arnold’s side will be targeting maximum points from both fixtures.