Malaysia to host first leg of World Cup play-off between Syria and Australia
Syria's home leg of the play-off between Syria and Australia will take place in Malacca’s Hang Jebat Stadium. The return leg will be in Sydney.
Football Federation Australia confirmed on Thursday that Syria will host the Socceroos in Malaysia in the first leg of the World Cup qualifying play-off.
The tie will be played at Malacca’s Hang Jebat Stadium on 5 October, while the return match will be competed at the ANZ Stadium in Sidney five days later.
Attempts to play Syria v Australia in the Middle-East
Due to the ongoing civil war in their country, since 2010 the Syrians have played their home qualifiers in Malaysia, where the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has its headquarters.
The Syrian Football Federation was willing to play the first leg in Abu Dhabi, but, given the short time until the match, the players and staff would not be able to obtain the necessary visas.
Syria also proposed Qatar for the match, but the AFC intervened to lock down the Malaysian venue.
Winners face another play-off
The winner of this play-off will face the fourth-placed team of the CONCACAF qualifiers, in another home-and-away series in November in order to secure a spot in the World Cup.
As of today, this match could be against Honduras, Panama or the United States.
Four Asian countries have already qualified for the World Cup: Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
Syria have never qualified for a World Cup.