The Qantas Socceroos will play their first home match of the final stage of their 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign in Brisbane on Tuesday 12 June 2012 when they host Japan in a re-match of the AFC Asian Cup 2011 final.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley, Qantas Socceroos Head Coach Holger Osieck and Queensland Sport Minister Phil Reeves made the announcement today at Suncorp Stadium.
“The Qantas Socceroos v Japan at Suncorp Stadium will be an absolutely epic contest on the road to Brazil,” said FFA CEO Ben Buckley.
”This will be a very early test for Qantas Socceroos against the Asian champions and the outcome will shape the group, but we all know our players thrive on these challenges.
“I’m calling on Queenslanders to turn Suncorp into a football cauldron and send a message that Australia means business in chasing a third consecutive FIFA World Cup finals appearance.”
Qantas Socceroos Head Coach Holger Osieck was equally enthusiastic about beginning the home matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Fourth Round in Brisbane.
“Brisbane is an excellent venue and provides us a great atmosphere and environment for the next phase of our campaign.
“We have very good memories from the start of our last stage of qualifiers and we hope to duplicate that result on 12 June.
“I’m expecting a sell-out crowd to see two of the top nations in Asia compete for a place at the FIFA World Cup,” concluded Osieck
Queensland Sport Minister Phil Reeves was proud that Queensland would be the first Australian venue for the final stage of the campaign.
"We love our football here in Queensland and I have no doubt fans will be out in force cheering on our boys as they continue on their path to Brazil," Mr Reeves said.
"I'm thrilled that Queenslanders will get a taste of the World Cup qualifiers which includes what will surely be an exciting match against Japan, which has proven to be a formidable opponent.
"Having events like these in our own backyard demonstrates that Queensland is a premier destination for sports tourism, reinforcing our reputation as the Events State.
"Queenslanders are loyal supporters of the world game and the Bligh Government is committed to continue working hand-in-hand with the FFA to achieve great outcomes not only for the fans, but for the game as a whole."
Also on hand for the announcement were three generations of Australian National team players in Ray Richards (1974 FIFA World Cup Socceroo), Craig Moore (2006 & 2010 FIFA World Cup Qantas Socceroo) and Corey Brown (2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup Qantas Joey).
Last Friday the Qantas Socceroos were drawn in Group B, along with Japan, Iraq, Jordan and Oman, for the fourth round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
As the top ranked team in the group, the Qantas Socceroos have a bye on the opening match day and will play their first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Fourth Round away to Oman on Friday 8 June 2012 before returning to Australia for their first home match against Japan on Tuesday 12 June 2012. The next two match days for the Qantas Socceroos will be away to Jordan on Tuesday 11 September 2012 and then Iraq on Tuesday 16 October 2012. The Qantas Socceroos next match day will be at home on Tuesday 26 March 2013 against Oman, with the final three match days in June against Japan (away - Tuesday, 4 June 2013), Jordan (home - Tuesday, 11 June 2013) and Iraq (home Tuesday, 18 June 2013).
The top two teams from each group will progress directly to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The two third placed teams from each group will meet in a play-off over two match days (6 & 10 September 2013) with the winner over the two legs to face the a CONMEBOL team on 15 October 2013 and 19 November 2013 with the winner of that fixture over two legs then progressing to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The Qantas Socceroos will warm-up for the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Fourth Round campaign with an international friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday 2 June 2012 before they face Oman in Muscat on Friday 8 June 2012.
Tickets for the Qantas Socceroos versus Japan match will go on sale from 9am today (Wednesday 14 March 2102) for members of the football family and to the general public 9am (AEDT) Thursday 22 March 2012.