Pressure gauge: The Socceroo who must stand up

The Socceroos take on Jordan in a World Cup qualifier in Amman at 3am Friday (AEDT)… and there's plenty at stake beyond three points.

The Daily Telegraph's Football Editor, Tom Smithies, has broken down the challenges that face the Socceroos, the men who can take them to the next level - and everything else you need to know about this crucial fixture.

 

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Tom Rogic (left) and Aaron Mooy (R) will command Australia’s midfield. Picture: AAP
Tom Rogic (left) and Aaron Mooy (R) will command Australia’s midfield. Picture: AAP

Who's under pressure

Aziz Behich

Behich has played almost as much for his country as his club this season, and his move to Başakşehir in search of more game time has not worked out, with ex-Arsenal fullback Gael Clichy blocking the way.

Bailey Wright

The extent to which Wright has fallen out of favour at Bristol City can be seen in the fact of making just two appearances so far this season - his rustiness showed against Nepal last month.

Craig Goodwin

At 27, the Saudi-based winger should be in the prime of his career but looked like he doubts himself at this level in the romp against Nepal last month.

 

Aziz Behich has struggled for gametime for his club. Picture: Getty
Aziz Behich has struggled for gametime for his club. Picture: Getty

Who's just buzzing

Brad Smith

The first Australian to win the MLS title had just an hour to savour that fact before making a 16-hour dash from Seattle to Jordan - but the smile on his face at training shows what mood he's in.

Adam Taggart

Boasting an enviable record of 18 goals in 31 games in the K-League, Taggart can now add a Korean FA Cup winner's medal to that haul after Suwong Bluewings's win over Daejeon Korail.

Martin Boyle

You can tell by the flicks and keepie-ups the winger has been producing at training that he is just glad to be playing again almost a year after getting injured on the eve of the Asian Cup.

 

Adam Taggart is banging in goals for fun in the K-League. Picture: Getty
Adam Taggart is banging in goals for fun in the K-League. Picture: Getty

 

Who are the key men

Mat Ryan

The Brighton keeper was absent last time the Socceroos came to Amman - and lost. His poise, and ability on the ball to keep possession, will be paramount in a frenzied atmosphere.

Trent Sainsbury

The centrehalf's ability is never in question, but sometimes there are question marks over his concentration - it has to be at 100%.

Tom Rogic

Absent since the Asian Cup through injury, Rogic has to have a big game. His vision is key to being able to prise open a blanket rearguard, and score the goals to silence the local crowd.

 

Australia’s needs Trent Sainsbury to be switched on at the back. Picture: AAP
Australia’s needs Trent Sainsbury to be switched on at the back. Picture: AAP

History lessons

In 2012 Holger Osieck called the 2-1 loss he had just overseen "a disaster", and Ange Postecoglou wasn't much less downbeat after a 2-0 reverse here in 2015. Throw in the Asian Cup loss to Jordan in January and it's a heck of a record for the Jordanian side against Australia in West Asia.

Funnily enough, both Jordan coach Vital Borkelmans and Graham Arnold insist they don't care about that record, but you can bet it will energise the home side on a bumpy, patchy pitch at the King Abdullah II Stadium.

 

Coach feeling heat

It's Borkelmans who local media are questioning after a number of losses this year. The Belgian was certainly more eager to take questions from Australian media at the pre-match press conference.

 

Predicted starting XI for Australia

-------------------Ryan-----------------------

----Grant Sainsbury Degenek Smith----

---------Jeggo Rogic Mooy---------------

--------Mabil Taggart Goodwin---------

News Corp Australia


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