Everything you need to know about Socceroos v Syria

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Graham Arnold's Socceroos will progress to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup if they can avoid defeat to Syria in Al Ain.

Guide to Socceroos v Syria

Where: Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain

When: January 15 - 5.30pm kick-off (Wednesday January 16 - 12:30am kick-off AEDT)

Socceroos:

Coach: Graham Arnold

Rank: 41

Syria:

Coach: Fajr Ibrahim

Rank: 74

Head-to-Head:

Australia 1, Syria 0, Draw 1

The lowdown:

Australia's 3-0 win over Palestine in Dubai means the Socceroos simply have to avoid defeat to secure second place in their group and progress to the knockout stages.

A loss to a Syrian team that has to win to stay in the tournament leaves Australia relying on what happens in Palestine's clash with Jordan, who have already secured top spot in the group.

If Palestine win, Australia are out, while if both Palestine and Australia are defeated the Socceroos will come third and likely progress as one of the four best third-placed teams.

The team:

Defender Trent Sainsbury is suspended and will be out of the match after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against Palestine.

Captain Mark Milligan is almost certain to drop into defence alongside Milos Degenek, with Massimo Luongo returning to a three-man midfield alongside Jackson Irvine and Tom Rogic.

Andrew Nabbout is fit after missing the first two matches with a groin strain but Australia's front three is likely to remain Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren and Chris Ikonomidis.

The opponent:

After a gutsy FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign where Syria defied the strife in their war-torn nation to nearly eliminate Australia in a regional playoff, expectation has proven too much for the Qasioun Eagles in the UAE.

Coach Bernd Stange was sacked after their 2-0 loss to Jordan last week which left them with one point and no goals from their first two matches of the tournament.

Former player and coach Fajr Ibrahim has taken over but will have had little time to work with a squad in turmoil.

The dangerous Omars - Al Somah and Kharbin - will be Syria's main attacking threats.

Source AAP