Football: Sydney to play host to Socceroos' intercontinental Russia 2018 play-off against Honduras

Australian players celebrate after they defeated Syria in their 2018 World Cup football qualifying match played in Sydney on Oct 10, 2017.
Australian players celebrate after they defeated Syria in their 2018 World Cup football qualifying match played in Sydney on Oct 10, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Australia will brace for another World Cup cliffhanger in Sydney, with Fifa confirming the second leg of the Socceroos' intercontinental play-off against Honduras will be played at the Olympic stadium on Nov 15.

The Socceroos defeated Syria 2-1 in a nail-biting second leg of their Asian play-off last week at the same venue, keeping their hopes of a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance alive.

The home team need to overcome Honduras, who booked their place in the intercontinental play-off by finishing fourth in the Concacaf (North, Central American and Caribbean) qualifying, to secure a berth in the Finals in Russia next year.

The first leg of the playoff will be in Honduras on Nov 10, but the time and venue have yet to be confirmed, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said in a media release on Sunday (Oct 15).

Prior to joining the Asian Football Confederation, Australia competed in Oceania qualifying and had to beat Uruguay in a play-off to qualify for the 2006 Finals in Germany, their first World Cup appearance since their 1974 debut.

Australia defeated Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out in the second leg at the Olympic stadium to secure their 2006 ticket, sparking wild celebrations across the country.

"Following last week's dramatic play-off victory over Syria, it comes down to these last two matches to see who will get the final berth at the 2018 Fifa World Cup," FFA chief executive David Gallop said.

"There hasn't been a more important match played in Australia since our last intercontinental play-off against Uruguay 12 years ago, and 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 Fifa World Cup."