- The home and away matches will be played in Australia
- Provides the Socceroos with vital support at home
- Two wins would ensure ‘Roos reach the final qualifying round
The Socceroos have been given an added advantage in their World Cup qualifying campaign after their away clash against Lebanon was moved to Canberra.
Australia were already due to host Lebanon in Sydney on Thursday, March 21, but the location of the second leg, to be played in the same window, was uncertain due to the conflict in the Middle East.
The Lebanese Football Federation has been unable to obtain permission from the AFC to host home matches and its most recent “home” qualifying match, against Palestine in November, was moved to the United Arab Emirates.
Instead of traveling to the Middle East to play at a neutral venue, Australia will receive a boost of local support as they bid to reach the third and final qualifying round.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has been given a boost by moving the away game from Lebanon to Canberra.
The Socceroos now have a golden opportunity to secure progress to the final stages of World Cup qualifying on home soil.
The GIO Stadium will host the match on Tuesday 26 March, marking the Socceroos’ return to the national capital for the first time since 2019, when they recorded a 5-0 victory over Nepal.
Two victories over Lebanon would guarantee Graham Arnold’s men a place in the final qualifying phase for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“I think it’s great that we were able to help a member of our confederation who is facing difficult times,” Arnold said.
“Throughout my time as head coach, we have had limited opportunities to play in front of home crowds, so to have two games in this window in Australia is extremely satisfying.
“I know the players are looking forward to returning home and we expect Lebanon to give us everything in what will be two important games in our quest for the third qualifying round.”
Australian football fans will have a double chance to watch the Socceroos, with matches to be played in Sydney and Canberra.
The Socceroos beat Lebanon in their previous two meetings in 2012 and 2018 and have so far enjoyed a perfect start to qualifying with a 7-0 thrashing of Bangladesh and a hard-fought 1-0 against Palestine.
“We have been assisting them in staging this match, doing everything we can to support them in difficult circumstances,” FA chief executive James Johnson said.
‘Our game has an amazing ability to bring people together and our work with Lebanon is the perfect example of this.
“For all intents and purposes, this is a home game for Lebanon, even though it is being played on Australian soil.”