Saudi Arabia Qualifies For The World Cup, Edging Australia On Goal Differential

Australia with Aaron Mooy, will go to Thailand in search of a big victory in order to qualify

The result pushed Australia into third in Group B and a place in the playoffs, where it will meet Syria, which drew 2-2 with Iran to finish third in Group A. Despite battering the Thais over the full 90 minutes, dominating possession and raining shots down, Australia could only manage a 2-1 win on home soil. Needing to boost their goal difference to hold off Saudi Arabia in the standings, the Australians instead missed chance after chance against much weaker opponents.

And the Samurai Blue made good on their promise to have a crack in Jeddah despite having booked their World Cup spot with the 2-0 win over Australia.

Syria has never yet qualified for the World Cup.

.

Al Soma's heart-stopping goal had one Syrian team official in tears before the players hugged and celebrated at the final whistle.

To book a spot in Russian Federation, the Socceroos need to defeat Thailand in Melbourne on Tuesday and hope Japan don't lose to Saudi Arabia in Jeddah - with the latter on the same amount of points but holding a plus-2 goal difference advantage.

Syria's Firas Al Khatib, in red, skips a tackle from an Iranian player. Thailand finished last in the group with two points.




South Korean midfielder Son Heung-min (C) tries to dribble past a Uzbekistan player during the teams' World Cup qualifying match at Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent on September 5, 2017.

It could have been more comfortable for Korea, who saw Hwang Hee-chan and Son Heung-min rattle the woodwork, although Azizbek Haydarov also smashed an effort against the post for Uzbekistan.

When the final whistle blew, several South Korean players sank to the ground in relief before starting some low-key celebrations. In his maiden World Cup appearance in 2014, he scored one goal in South Korea's 4-2 loss to Algeria as South Korea took an early exit from the quadrennial event.

For the first time in Syria's conflict, sport has come to the defence of the deeply-fractured country's unity, with regime backers and foes alike dreaming of World Cup 2018 qualification.

A double from Sardar Azmoun looked to have given Iran all three points until Al Soma - playing only his second match for Syria since his return from a self-imposed exile - slid the ball through Beiranvand's legs to level deep into stoppage time. The victor will go into an intercontinental play-off against the fourth team in North America, the place now occupied by the U.S. What will be the last home match against Syria?

Syria, which has been playing its qualifiers in Malaysia because Federation Internationale de Football Association won't let it play at home because of the hostilities, has never come this close to qualifying before.

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