Australia's loss to Japan in World Cup qualifying a missed opportunity for Socceroos
Joey Lynch
October 12, 2021
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next month knowing that a win, combined with an Australia loss to the Saudis, would move them into second place in the group.

Questions for November

One major questions overshadows next month's clash with Saudi Arabia: where will the game be played? Tuesday's loss marked the 10th-straight competitive fixture that the Socceroos had to play outside on the road. Australia's stringent 14-day hotel quarantine procedure and its incompatibility with short FIFA international windows means that the national team's home fixtures since international football's return have been played at neutral venues in the Middle East.

In theory, Football Australia negotiating an arrangement with government and health authorities that will allow Australia's women's national team the Matildas to host Brazil in two games later this month bodes well for a similar arrangement for November's window -- although there has yet to be any official word from Football Australia or Government that this will be the case.

"I'm reaching out to the New South Wales government and really appealing to them to help us on this journey for the World Cup," Arnold said postmatch. "We're still four weeks away from this game, [and they can] really help us by allowing fans into the stadium. We've seen in the UK where it's 80% vaccinated and everyone has got full crowds again [NSW has fully vaccinated 74% of its population aged 16+ against COVID and is projected to vaccinate over 80% within a week].

"I do believe that the second half, we kicked into gear, we fought the crowd, we did very well and got back to 1-1 and then probably, again, the crowd noise and the energy the crowd gave the Japanese players in the last ten to 15 minutes really helped get them home.

"So, again, I really appeal to the government to helps us and help us on this journey to qualify for a World Cup. NSW is open now, so please help us. We need our crowd back."
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