Socceroos to call Qatar home again for World Cup qualifier

The Socceroos will call Qatar home again for their next World Cup qualifier, with the team set to return to the Khalifa International Stadium after travel restrictions prevented a return to Australia.

Football Australia sources confirmed they had finalised an agreement to play at the airconditioned stadium in Doha for next week’s qualifier against Oman after being pleased with the venue and training facilities when they used it for last month’s “home” qualifier against China.

The Socceroos will play in Qatar for next week’s qualifier against Oman.Credit:Getty Images

With the core of the squad playing in Europe and the team having to travel to Japan for a game four days later, logistics was another factor in the decision to play in Qatar. It will also give the Socceroos another chance to play on one of the stadiums renovated for next year’s World Cup.

The match against Oman on Friday, October 8, is set to be the last time the Socceroos will have to play home qualifiers away from Australia after reaching an agreement with the federal and NSW governments to play later games in Parramatta.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is set to name his squad for the qualifiers against Oman and Japan on Saturday. Sources close to the team suggest he will select two A-League players, Chris Ikonomidis of Melbourne Victory and Rhyan Grant of Sydney FC. Grant played in last month’s qualifiers against China and Vietnam. Instead of returning to Australia, he avoided quarantine by continuing to train overseas.

Croatia-born defender Fran Karacic is also set to return to the squad after missing the China and Vietnam games due to injury. The fullback, who is yet to feature for Italian club Brescia this campaign, is expected to get his first minutes of match time this season with the Socceroos.

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