World Cup Betting: Australia can get World Cup campaign back on track with clean sheet v UAE
Recommended bet: Australia to Win to Nil at 7/5 (2.40) with Sportsbet
The 1-1 draw in the game in Tehran against Iraq last week was the fourth consecutive qualifier in which Australia have taken just a solitary point
The Socceroos now face the UAE knowing that anything less than a win could put their bid for automatic qualification for World Cup 2018 in serious doubt.
A defeat would not only almost certainly scupper their hopes of finishing in the top two of Group B, but would even seriously derail their hopes of the consolation prize of securing a play-off place.
That’s because the UAE are just a point adrift of Australia going into this game at the Adelaide Oval and arguably have a slightly easier final three group games than Ange Postecoglou’s men.
A Mathew Leckie header gave Australia what looked like it would be a decisive lead against the Iraqis but, in a game played on a difficult surface and poor weather, a strong second-half showing from their opponents drew them level and the Socceroos were grateful to goalkeeper Mitch Langerak for keeping them in the game at times.
The UAE do come into the game on the back of a disappointing result themselves though, having lost 2-0 at home to Japan in Al Ain on Thursday. It makes this game one that they can ill-afford to lose either.
They have some dangerous players going forward in Omar Abdulrahman and Ahmed Khalil, but the latter has been struggling with a calf injury of late and missed out on the Japan game. His availability in Adelaide must also be in doubt.
A late Tim Cahill goal was enough to give Australia a 1-0 win when these teams met in the reverse fixture in Abu Dhabi back in September and this game could well be both equally tight and result in a similar outcome.
The best price available on a win for the Socceroos at the time of writing is 4/9 (1.44), which looks very short under the circumstances.
The Australian defence hasn’t been convincing of late, but a better value punt looks to be backing the Socceroos to ‘Win to Nil’ at 7/5 (2.40) with Sportsbet.