SOCCEROOS TO PLAY IRAQ AT SUNCORP STADIUM

Queensland has secured the blockbuster World Cup qualifier match between the Socceroos and Iraq to be played at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 1 June.

Sport Minister Judy Spence and Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley today announced that Queensland will host the crucial game.

Ms Spence said: "This is a great opportunity for Queensland sports fans to witness a full strength Socceroos team attempting to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"Securing the game at Suncorp Stadium is also recognition of the strength of soccer in Queensland which has about 70,000 registered players.

"The Queensland Roar had an average crowd this season of 16,950 per match - the second highest in the A-League.

"Now with the excitement generated by this match the sport's popularity should continue to grow.

"Suncorp Stadium is a world class facility and I am sure Queenslanders will turn out in force to support the Socceroos.

"This match will also benefit the local economy and boost local businesses involved in accommodation and hospitality.

"And Brisbane will be showcased with millions of television viewers around the world seeing the match," Ms Spence said.

Australia got off to a great start on their qualification journey by defeating Qatar 3-0 in the opening match in Melbourne in February and a 0-0 draw away to China last week.

While the Qantas Socceroos lead their group of four, it will be vital that the team continues to win at home giving the match against Iraq huge significance. Only the top two teams from the group progress to the next stage of qualification.

"The FFA is delighted that the Qantas Socceroos will play their next World Cup qualifying match in Brisbane," said CEO Ben Buckley.

"Australia has only played one previous World Cup qualifier in Brisbane and that was in 1992 so we expect there will be huge anticipation ahead of this match."

"When the team played in a friendly match at Suncorp Stadium in 2006 there were almost 50,000 fans in attendance and gave the team a terrific acknowledgment of their success at the World Cup.

"We look forward to the Queensland fans inspiring the team towards the 2010 World Cup"

Iraq are the Champions of Asia having won the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, defeating Australia 3-1 in Bangkok en route to the championship.

The FFA also confirmed today that the Qantas Socceroos will prepare for the match against Iraq with a friendly against Ghana at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Friday 23 May and the final World Cup qualifier for this phase against China will be held at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday 22 June.

All the Qantas Socceroos matches will be shown live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.

FOXTEL are the presenting partner of Australia's World Cup qualification journey.

QANTAS SOCCEROOS MATCH SCHEDULE

Australia v. Ghana
International Friendly
Friday 23 May 2008
ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Australia v. Iraq
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification Match
Sunday 1 June 2008
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Iraq v. Australia
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification Match
7 June 2008
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Qatar v. Australia
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification Match
14 June 2008
Doha, Qatar

Australia v. China
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification Match
Sunday 22 June 2008
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

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