Sydney (AFP) – Australian football chiefs called for unity as the dates were confirmed for their World Cup play-off against Honduras, with the team rattled by reports coach Ange Postecoglou could quit.
A brace from veteran striker Tim Cahill in a 2-1 win over Syria last week moved the Socceroos a step closer to a place at the 2018 Russia tournament.
They now need to negotiate a home-and-away play-off against Honduras — the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF federation.
Football Federation Australia said Sunday FIFA had confirmed the first leg will be at a yet-to-be-decided venue in Honduras on November 10, with the return tie in Sydney on November 15.
Postecoglou has declined to confirm or deny reports that he plans to step down after the critical Honduras showdown, overshadowing preparations.
FFA chief David Gallop urged the country to get behind the team in its most important match in years.
“There hasn’t been a more important match played in Australia since our last Intercontinental play-off against Uruguay 12 years ago,” he said.
“For all of us who were there it was truly a very special moment in Australian sporting history.
“With a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at stake we’re calling on all football and sports fans to rally behind the Socceroos as they aim to qualify for their fourth successive World Cup.”
Local media have said Gallop was unaware of Postecoglou’s intentions when reports broke about his potential departure last week, leaving him furious as he scrambled to find out the facts.
The Australian newspaper said Postecoglou had become increasingly restless, fed up with criticism after a string of mediocre results, and wanted to get back into club coaching overseas.
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