The World Cup is right around the corner, and there are still some teams that need to qualify to compete in Qatar. Asia has a chance to send one more team - either United Arab Emirates or Australia.
Asia currently has four teams qualified for the World Cup: IR Iran, South Korea, Saudia Arabia, and Japan. Those teams finished first and second in Round 3 of qualifying, while UAE and Australia finished third.
However, a fifth team from Asia qualifying for the World Cup is not guaranteed. The winner of this match will go on to face Peru in an intercontinental playoff on June 13 for a spot at the World Cup.
Let’s jump into my predictions and best bets for what should be an exciting one-match playoff.
UAE vs Australia World Cup Qualifier Odds
- 3-way handicap: UAE (+320) • Draw (+210) • Australia (-128)
- 2-way handicap: UAE +0.5 (+100) • Australia -0.5 (-130)
- Over/Under Goals: Over 2.5 (+130) • Under 2.5 (-170)
UAE vs Australia World Cup Qualifier Pick
Australia has been to the last four World Cups, while UAE hasn’t qualified since 1990, their only World Cup appearance. However, both squads have been unsuccessful in their World Cup appearances, as Australia has made out of the Group Stage once, getting knocked out in the Round of 16.
In their last 10 World Cup qualifying matches, Australia is 4-3-3 while UAE is 5-5. Both teams finished well behind in third place in the Asian qualifying, as the Socceroos and Al Abyad struggled in their groups.
The managers of both teams have been under pressure, too, which isn’t helpful when trying to qualify for the World Cup. In February, UAE’s manager was dismissed, bringing in Rodolfo Arruabarrena to lead the squad.
Manager Graham Arnold was almost dismissed in March for Australia, but he kept his job. So if Australia loses here, he’ll most likely be on the outs.
Even though they haven’t played particularly well, Australia is looking to keep their World Cup streak alive. For UAE, this is the closest they have gotten to making the World Cup since they made it in 1990.
Both countries will put it all on the line to make it to the playoff game.
UAE vs Australia Prediction
Australia 2, United Arab Emirates 1
The heat will play a factor in this match, and it’ll be a tight defensive battle to start. However, Australia will break away later in the match and will hold on for the victory.
In their last 10 matches, the Socceroos are averaging 1.4 goals for and 1 goal against, while Al Abyad is averaging 0.8 goals for and 1 goal against. So while Australia hasn’t played well in qualifying, UAE has looked worse.
United Arab Emirates vs Australia Key Players
Ali Mabkhout, United Arab Emirates
Ali Mabkhout is UAE’s best player and has been for a while. He is the country’s all-time leading goal scorer with 80 goals and is currently second on the team with 104 caps.
Mabkhout had 14 goals in 16 games in 2021 and put one in the back of the net most recently in UAE’s friendly against Gambia. He’s a homegrown player, having spent his entire pro career in UAE, and will look to add to his national accomplishments by leading his country to the World Cup.
Mathew Ryan, Australia
Mathew Ryan became the 62nd player to captain Australia in 2019 and has held onto that role ever since. He has 72 caps for Australia, the most on the roster.
Ryan has been brilliant for Australia in their World Cup qualifying run. In 16 matches, he has 10 wins and nine clean sheets. Though he’s struggled in his previous two World Cup appearances, he’s been a brick wall in net as of late.
United Arab Emirates vs Australia Best Bets
Over 2.5 Total Goals (+130) at Caesars Sportsbook
This is a win-or-go-home situation for both teams, and neither side wants to wait until 2026 for their next World Cup opportunity. The defense will be stingy, but both sides will look to jump out to a big lead. The goals will come in this game, as I have it ending 2-1.
1st Half Under 0.5 Goals (+135) at Caesars Sportsbook
The Over on goals will hit, but the scoring won’t begin until the second half. It’s going to be a hot night in Qatar, and the nerves will be kicking in on both sides, so the first half will be a feeling-out process.
Once both teams are comfortable and have had a half to play, the second half will have plenty of scoring.
Mathew Leckie Anytime Goal (+250) at Caesars Sportsbook
Mathew Leckie is one of the leaders on this Australian squad, as he has the second most caps at 69 and leads the team with 13 goals throughout his national team career.
Though he hasn’t scored since 2021, Leckie is due for one and already has four goals during this World Cup Qualifying period.