Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is confident Saudi Arabia will be toppled off top spot when the nations meet in Thursday week’s crucial Group B World Cup qualifier in Sydney.
Australia trail the Saudis by three points but the match will be their first at home in 763 days, and offers the opportunity to shrug off the 2-1 loss to Japan in Tokyo - a result which ended a record breaking run of 11 straight wins under Arnold.
They follow that up five days later against China at a venue yet to be officially determined.
At approaching the halfway stage of qualifying for Qatar 2022, Australia face a Saudi side who have enjoyed the luxury three of their four qualifiers in the Kingdom, and their only road trip to nearby Oman.
“We haven’t played a game at home and we can’t wait to get back so the boys can play in front of family and friends,” Arnold told FTBL.
“We’re coming off the back of three good wins in the past two camps (against China, Vietnam and Oman), and it took a deflected cross and an own goal for Japan to beat us.
“Despite the result, I was pleased with the application and performance against Japan.
“Overall, everything is in our hands … we’re in a very good position and need to capitalize on it.
“Saudi Arabia have barely travelled yet and that’s an important factor.
“They still have to go to Vietnam, Japan and they have to come to us. And maybe they’ll also have to go to China.
“But - most importantly- we are focusing on what we can do.
“We’ve played 11 World Cup qualifiers away from home and put ourselves in a great position - and I expect that to continue.”
Arnold is expected to name his squad later this week.
He offered a message of support to left-back Aziz Behich who was caught out of position for Japan's opening goal in Tokyo, and conceded the own goal for their winner.
"He's always been a very consistent player for us, a great asset," he said. "I think (in those situations against Japan) we could have done better to help him as well."
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