Tom Rogic has more reason than most for hoping that Australia can win their World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand to go straight to Russia as one of the top two sides in Group B of the Asian qualifiers.
If Australia finish in third place in their group they face further two legged play-off’s against Uzbekistan and Panama to reach Russia!
Currently only a point separates Japan, Saudi Arabia and the Socceroos with the top two automatically qualifying for the finals.
There are a number of possibilities over the remaining two matches but two wins or a win or draw against Japan and win over Thailand will be enough to ensure automatic qualification.
If Australia finish in third place then Rogic faces a much more complex route to the finals.
The third placed team in each of the two Asian groups (Uzbekistan are third in the other group at present) will face each other in a two legged play-off with the winner going into another play-off against the fourth placed nation in the CONCACAF qualifiers which is currently Panama.
With the Asian play-off taking place in October then the matches against the CONCACAF side being played in November the timing couldn’t be worse for anyone playing in the Champions League.
A run of draws against Saudi Arabia, Japan, Thailand and Iraq has put Australia’s place in doubt ahead of Thursday’s match in Tokyo.
Rogic and Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy will be the key players for the Socceroos with both in form at the start of the season on the back of the Confederations Cup during June and July.