London calling as Socceroos look to seal USA clash

The Socceroos pose for a team photo before a match Source: Getty Images

Australia will play their first match in almost a year if a proposed friendly against the United States is confirmed in London next month.

The FFA have been working feverishly to bring the Socceroos out of moth balls, with Graham Arnold’s men inactive since last November’s 1-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in Jordan.

Similarly sidelined by the restrictions imposed around the coronavirus pandemic, the USMNT haven’t kicked a ball in anger since a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica back in February.

But discussions are ongoing over a duel at Fulham’s Craven Cottage in mid-November, Australia’s long-established home-away-from-home in the English capital.

An FFA source said that while a fourth meeting between the two nations was not yet signed and sealed, it was close to being locked in.

If the fixture gets the thumbs up - and USA are also slated to face Wales during the November window - it would be the eighth international Australia have played at Fulham’s historic home ground since 2004.

Arnold has been itching to get the band back together again ahead of March’s proposed resumption of Australia’s FIFA World Cup qualification campaign for Qatar 2022.

The pair last clashed a decade ago in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup, with Tim Cahill Australia’s lone goalscorer in a 3-1 loss.

For Arnold and his Manchester-based assistant Rene Meulensteen, it would be an opportunity to cast an eye over a largely European-based contingent of players, with the intention to also bring in the likes of Aaron Mooy, Adam Taggart and Thomas Deng from Asia.

However, players entering the UK could be subject to ongoing COVID-19 quarantine regulations, and FIFA release technicalities, which might complicate matters for Arnold and the FFA in ratifying the fixture.

The coach will be keen to check on the development of Stoke City defender Harry Souttar, recent Bundesliga signing Ajdin Hrustic, out-of-favour Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic, in-form Awer Mabil, Hibernian's Martin Boyle, Netherlands-based Trent Sainsbury, Sheffield Wednesday’s Massimo Luongo, and the likes of Mathew Leckie and Brandon Borrello. 

There might also be recalls for Israel-based striker Nikita Rukavytsya and Sunderland defender Bailey Wright.