The Socceroos face a tough task to qualify for the World Cup: PHOTO: Socceroos-Twitter

The Socceroos learned their fate in the final phase of World Cup Qualifying, facing off against a host of top quality sides.

The Socceroos learned their World Cup Qualifying fate after the draw concluded yesterday.

Graham Arnold’s men will face an uphill battle in their qualification group after their opponents were revealed. Japan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, China, and Vietnam were all put into Australia’s group.

After essentially walking through the second phase of World Cup Qualifying, winning all eight games, scoring 28 times, and conceding just twice as they topped the group, 14 points clear of Kuwait in second.

However, the next and last phase of qualifying presents a far different challenge for Graham Arnold’s men. Asian powerhouse Japan will be Australia’s most formidable foe, however, the step-up in class will mean there are no easy games.

Several Socceroos stars emerge

Getting to the Qatar 2022 World Cup now presents a serious challenge to the Socceroos but it is one that they can head into with the utmost of confidence. The Australian public saw several debutants and the emergence of several potential stars in the making.

Ajdin Hrustic impressed with his creative role and will no doubt feature heavily for the national side.
Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Martin Boyle, and Nikita Rukavytsya all played their part and got on the scoresheet in the side’s eight-game undefeated streak.

However perhaps one of the things to come out of the second phase of qualifying was the number of debutants and the fact they did not look out of place on the national stage.

Riley McGree, Fran Karacic, Ruon Tongyik, Connor Metcalfe, and Denis Genreau all got ample game time at the international level. Stoke City Harry Souttar also showed off his goal-scoring ability.

The towering central defender scored five times in as his threat from set-pieces was there for all to see. The most pleasing thing is that all the youngsters acquitted themselves very well and seriously impressed. The final round of qualifying for the Socceroos will be significantly harder with the quality of teams being high.

Japan, like Australia, went through their group stages undefeated as they swept aside all challengers. Japan will be odds on to qualify for their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance. While the Socceroos are aiming for their fifth showing at football’s showpiece event.

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In the final stage of direct qualifying, The winner of the groups and the runner-up will advance directly to the World Cup. The teams that finish third will then meet to determine who goes through to the play in a playoff for one of the last places available in Qatar.

While it will be tough for the Socceroos to qualify for Qatar, it certainly is not impossible. Graham Arnold will have the squad ready to go when the qualifiers start to continue the quest for a 5th consecutive World Cup appearance.

The Socceroos have laid the groundwork after impressive displays in the second phase of qualifying. However, the challenge gets considerably difficult from here on.

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