Ryan McGowan of the Socceroos and Jos Holebas of Greece fight for the ball during their friendly in June.
Ryan McGowan of the Socceroos and Jos Holebas of Greece fight for the ball during their friendly in June. JOE CASTRO

Adelaide to host crucial World Cup qualifier

FOOTBALL: The Socceroos will play their World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia at Adelaide Oval on June 8.

The Aussies will be hoping the venue becomes a lucky ground after their 7-0 massacre of Tajikistan in March.

The game will be a farewell match before the team jets off to the Confederations Cup in Russia.

South Australian-born Ryan McGowan - a hero of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil - is expected to be the poster boy for the match.

McGowan, contracted to Henan Jianye of China, said he was excited about the Adelaide match and the chance to go to the World Cup.

"As a young boy growing up in Adelaide you dream and you're led to believe that you're going to go to a World Cup,” he said.

"But in reality it's very difficult to achieve.”

The Socceroos are third in Group B of the Asian Football Confederation FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a point behind group leader Saudi Arabia with five matches remaining.

Australia's next World Cup qualifier is against Iraq away on March 23.

Five days later the Socceroos host the UAE at the Sydney Football Stadium before the June clash at the Adelaide Oval against Saudi Arabia.

The top two teams in Group B automatically qualify for the World Cup in Russia, while the third-placed side will meet Group A's third place-getter in a sudden-death play-off.



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