Melbourne to host Thailand qualifier

The decision means Brisbane misses out on a third round World Cup qualifier, while Melbourne will host two matches, with Australia having played Japan at Etihad Stadium in October.

It also is a change from previous campaigns in terms of the size of the venue, with more than 80,000 fans packing out ANZ Stadium as Australia defeated Iraq 1-0 to clinch World Cup qualification in their final game.

Almost 75,000 fans turned out during the 2010 World Cup campaign, with Australia already qualified, for a 2-1 win over Japan at the MCG.

AAMI Park’s capacity is just over 30,000. The last time Australia played at the venue was during the 2015 Asian Cup with a 4-1 win over Kuwait in front of 25,231 fans.

The venue is one of the best surfaces in Australia and the smaller capacity will create an improved atmosphere, much to coach Ange Postecoglou’s delight.

“The next two matches in this campaign are extremely important for us,” Postecoglou said.

Josh Kennedy celebrates his winner against Iraq in 2013

“We are focused on two strong performances beginning with the challenge in Japan.

“A capacity stadium in Melbourne supporting the team will be fantastic.”

The match will likely prove crucial for Australia, who currently sits third in Group B with two games to play.

Japan, who meet the Socceroos in Saitama on the penultimate matchday, lead the group by one point ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia (level on 16 points).

The Green Falcons, who play UAE and Japan in their final two qualifiers, have a one goal advantage on goal difference ahead of the Socceroos.

Australia defeated Saudi Arabia 4-2 at AAMI Park in 2012

Tickets for the crucial clash go on pre-sale to the Football Family with a 10% discount from 9am (AEST) on Tuesday 18 July with general public on-sale from 12pm (AEST) Monday 24 July.

FFA CEO David Gallop is expecting a large vocal home crowd to cheer the Socceroos on towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“It’s…

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