The Socceroos will play their four remaining preliminary World Cup qualifiers at a “suitable location” between May 31 and June 15 due to COVID protocols.
With new travel and quarantine restrictions impacting on several Asian soccer nations, Graham Arnold’s men will take on Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait and Taiwan at a hub still to be determined.
Football Australia CEO, James Johnson said they had signalled their intent to AFC to play a constructive role in the resumption of international football in Asia.
“With FIFA having expanded the June window to allow for international matches from 31 May to 15 June, we will need to utilise that period to complete our remaining Group B fixtures prior to the June 15 deadline,” Johnson said.
.@theafcdotcom have confirmed that the @Socceroos' final four @FIFAWorldCup 2022 and @AFCAsianCup 2023 – Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 matches will be played in a centralised format from 31 May to 15 June 2021. https://t.co/YNX66IRKG6
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) March 2, 2021
“We remain committed to the restart of national team football in a COVID-safe manner as soon as possible, and will work with AFC and FIFA, as well as the Football Associations of Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait and Taiwan to play out our remaining qualifiers in a suitable location.”
The Socceroos were initially scheduled to travel to Kathmandu to face the Nepalis on March 30 in their first international match since defeating Jordan in Amman in November 2019.
The Australians lead Group B by two points from Kuwait, which has played one game more than the Socceroos.
Jordan and Taiwan complete the group, with the top-place finisher certain to progress to the next round of Asia’s qualifying competition for the finals.