Time and Date
Thursday, 5 October 2017
8.30pm Malaysian time (11.30pm AEDT)
Most likely damp and possibly raining. VERY humid and sticky ("hot soup" - "sweatbox"). The temperature will apparently be about 29 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius.
Adapting to the weather will be difficult for our European-based players, who are experiencing autumn weather for their club football.
According to Sportsbet, Australia is expected to win @ $1.70
but perhaps not by much, if at all, according to WeGlobalFootball. They predict that someone will win by a margin of 0.39 goals - ie. It will become a draw.
What we are up against in Syria
- Undefeated in Malaysia! Their home away from home.
- Skyrocketing FIFA ranking from #151 (in 2014) to #75 in the world.
- Attacking trio in Omar al Soma (#9), Firas Al-Khatib (#10) and Omar Khribin (#7), the last of whom just scored a hat-trick in the Asian Champions League Semi-final for Al-Hilal against Persopolis. Former is in form in the ACL too.
- Grinding team capable of toughing out a 0-0 draw (as was the case against Iran and South Korea).
- Underdog 'Cinderella' status - almost the whole world is cheering for them.
- They have nothing to lose and are playing for the pride of their country.
- A star veteran, Al Masri, just starting to find his form for the national squad: he made his debut for Syria at the age of 30 (#17, Defender).
- Conceded just 8 times over 10 matches (6 times over 9 matches not including the last Iran game).
- 3 defenders: Behich (left-back), Jurman (centre-back), Risdon (right-back); Craig Goodwin (left winger or wingback) and Rukavytsya (Striker)
Given Risdon's and Ruka's inclusion (the former is a right-back; the latter apparently likes wide attack), there are rumours that Ange is thinking of reverting to a back 4 as above, but I think this is just wishful thinking.
My predicted score: 1-1