The Socceroos will play their first match on home soil in more than two years with November’s crunch World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia to be contested in Sydney.
Football Australia confirmed on Friday the 11 November clash against the Saudis will be played at CommBank Stadium. It will be Australia’s first home match since October 2019, when Graham Arnold’s team defeated Nepal in Canberra before the Covid pandemic.
The Nepal match remains the only game Arnold’s team have played on home soil in their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign so far with 11 of their 12 games contested overseas.
“Despite the challenges which this has presented, the Socceroos have performed exceptionally well,” FA chief executive James Johnson said. “The Socceroos have a great record when playing Fifa World Cup qualifiers on Australian soil and we’re delighted that the team will have the opportunity to return to Australia to continue their Fifa World Cup quest in front of Australian fans.
“It will also be a chance for the Australian public to witness some exciting new national team talent, including players like Ajdin Hrustic, Martin Boyle and Harry Souttar, who have been making great contributions to the squad throughout 2021.”
Capacity for the game will be set at 75%, meaning a crowd of approximately 22,000 can attend.
Australia currently sit second on the Group B ladder behind the Saudis, on the road to Qatar. The Middle East powerhouse has a perfect four-from-four record so far in qualifying while the Socceroos lost their perfect record with a 2-1 loss to Japan in Saitama last time out.
Arnold said after the loss to the Samurai Blue the small crowd of spectators had been a huge boost to the home team and was hopeful of a similar advantage for the visit of Saudi Arabia.
“I believe that playing in front of home fans at a beautiful stadium and on a great pitch will help us,” Arnold said. “Fans can provide energy to players and teams, and after having been away from Australia for so long, I expect that our players will harness and utilise the support.”
An initial allocation of tickets for the match will go on sale to Football Australia account holders on 1 November, with a general release on 3 November. Venues for the ensuing home matches against Vietnam in January and Japan in March are yet to be determined.