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Thailand eye giant-killing against Australia
Published : 14 Nov 2011 06:46:48
Thailand are aiming to bring some cheer to the flood-stricken nation with a giant-killing mission at home to Australia on Tuesday as they fight to keep their World Cup dream alive.
The Socceroos were lucky to scrape a win against the plucky Thais in Brisbane in September and the minnows will be hoping home advantage produces a result to put a smile on fans' faces after months of deadly floods.
Thailand went down 3-0 in Saudi Arabia on Friday and face a tough battle to reach the next round of qualifying for Brazil 2014. They lie third in Group D on four points from four matches, a point behind Frank Rijkaard's Saudis with two matches to play.
Runaway group leaders Australia saw their 100 percent winning record ended on Friday as they went down 1-0 away to lowly Oman despite the presence of star men Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and Brett Emerton.
The Thailand-Australia clash was moved to central Bangkok's National Stadium after the original venue was used as an evacuation centre for flood victims.
Thailand is suffering its worst floods in half a century, which have left more than 560 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods.
Australia need just a point in Bangkok to progress to the fourth and final round of Asian qualifying, where they would join Asian champions Japan, Uzbekistan and Jordan.
Uzbekistan sank North Korea 1-0 in Tashkent last week to end their hopes of making it to Brazil, while the Blue Samurai thumped Tajikistan 4-0 away.
The North Koreans, who had been aiming for a second successive appearance at the World Cup finals after their showing in South Africa last year, will hope to restore some pride when they take on Japan in Pyongyang.
In Group A, China travel to Singapore with their hopes of qualification all but extinguished after defeat to Iraq. A draw away to Jordan would be enough to take Iraq through.
Group B leaders South Korea can qualify for the next stage with a win away to Lebanon while the United Arab Emirates will travel to Kuwait looking for their first point of the round after four defeats out of four.
Free-scoring table-toppers Iran look odds on to progress with a win against lowly Indonesia in Jakarta in Group E, with second-placed Qatar playing host to Bahrain.
The last round of matches for this group stage will be played on February 29.
The winners and runners-up of the five groups will be drawn into two pools for the round-robin fourth stage, with the eventual top two in each section earning a ticket to Brazil.
The two third-placed teams will then face each other for the right to contest an intercontinental play-off.