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WCQ playoff tips & Socceroos odds for Honduras vs. Australia

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    Honduras vs. Australia

    • To qualify for Russia 2018

      Honduras: $1.90 at William Hill
      Australia: $1.90 at Ladbrokes

Saturday, November 11, 2017 – 9am AEDT – Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula

FOOTBALL Federation Australia has declared a “victory for fair play” on the back of FIFA’s decision to square the ledger for the upcoming 2018 World Cup playoff ties.

The world governing body announced last week that Peru and New Zealand would both have their yellow cards wiped due to an imbalance of games played throughout the qualifying stages.

That was followed by a similar boost for Honduras for the first leg of their clash with Australia this weekend.

The initial ruling did not extend the same courtesy to the Socceroos, which would have put up to eight players at heightened risk of suspension for the second leg in Sydney on Wednesday, November 15.

The disparity came because each continental body may only be granted a cleaning of the disciplinary slate once in a World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Asian Football Confederation did that after the second round, while CONCACAF – the jurisdiction in which Honduras lies – had not yet submitted such a request.

However, balance was restored on Monday when FIFA bowed to the exceptional circumstances that would have left Australia as the only side carrying yellow cards into the playoffs.

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That means fit-again skipper Mile Jedinak, Celtic star Tom Rogic and six other Socceroos can now approach Saturday’s clash in San Pedro Sula without the imminent threat of suspension hanging over their heads.

Coach Ange Postecoglou still has a few holes to fill, however, with Robbie Kruse out injured and both Mark Milligan and Mathew Leckie serving bans.

Tim Cahill is a doubt after sitting out Melbourne City’s A-League clash with Sydney FC at the weekend, but the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer has joined the squad and remains an outside chance to play.

Honduras have also been sweating on the fitness of a star forward.

Eddie Hernandez was pushing for selection despite suffering a broken cheekbone only a few weeks ago, but the Montagua striker was left out of the squad on the advice of team medicos.

Goalkeeper Denis Escober and Barcelona B striker Anthony Lozano are both back from injury, while Alberth Elis and former Premier League star Maynor Figueroa are suspended.

Market news for WCQ playoffs

Sportsbet.com.au reports that all the money so far is on Honduras to win the first leg.

The online bookmaker claims to have taken multiple bets of $1000 and over for the home side, which has seen their match price shorten from $2.10 into $2.

The largest wager for the Aussies to date is a $320 stake at $3.90 odds, while the best-backed outcome is a 2-1 win for the H at $8.50.

“The biggest bets have all been on Honduras for the opening leg, yet Australia is favoured to get through over the two legs at $1.80,” said Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen.

“It just shows how tough a trip to Honduras is.”

Best bets for first goalscorer

Romell Quioto ($7.50 at Neds) – With the visitors missing several of their preferred wide options, Quioto’s power and pace from the flank could be the key that unlocks Australia’s defence.

Tom Rogic ($10 at Sportsbet) – It might take something special against notoriously hostile opposition, and Rogic is capable of exactly that when released to get on the ball and make things happen.

No goalscorer ($7 at Neds) – Neither of these teams were especially free-scoring in qualifying, so a goalless draw has to come into the reckoning.

Honduras vs. Australia tips

The Socceroos had better be prepared for a dog fight.

While Honduras are capable of nice, eye-catching football, they have a well-earned reputation for sticking the boot in and winning ugly.

If anything, Postecoglou’s squad has a slight technical and tactical advantage in most areas of the pitch, but that will count for nought if they are not up for it.

It could go either way, despite the lopsided odds, and there is value in backing the visitors to halve what could be a febrile affair.

Socceroos bonus offers at Neds.com.au

Online bookie Neds.com.au has a series of Socceroos bet specials for Saturday’s clash:

Sign up at Neds today and enter the bonus code GETON500 to claim an exclusive $500 welcome package.


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