Socceroos at critical juncture with more than World Cup place at stake | Emma Kemp

Australia are nearing the end of the road in a curious qualifying campaign that has left the nation contemplating an existential crisis The Socceroos came dangerously close to a feel-good story in 2021. World Cup qualifying had resumed after a lengthy Covid-enforced layoff and the team were rollicking through Asia’s second phase. Hockey scorelines had become the norm, Harry Souttar was having a pre-ACL field day and other newcomers offered glimpses of a greener and more golden future.Even against more modest opposition such as Taiwan and Nepal, the emphatic results felt pleasing. Winning is irresistible, even when it is anticipated. So when Australia completed that second round undefeated and began the third with a Fifa-record 11th consecutive World Cup qualifying victory, we did – as Graham Arnold would say – expect to win.

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