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'Suddenly you're in trouble' - Williams sends World Cup warning to Socceroos

Awer Mabil (L) and Tom Rogic of the Socceroos Source: Getty Images

Australia have been warned they must prepare as much as possible to deal with the extreme heat in Kuwait in June, where they have four 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the space of 12 days.

With potential temperatures of over 40 degrees in Kuwait, named Friday by the Asian Football Confederation as the centralised venue that will host the remaining games in Group B, Rhys Williams knows that Graham Arnold’s men are going to have their work cut out.

The former international should know as he has spent almost three years in Saudi Arabia with Al-Qadsiah.

Plenty of foreign players don't last more than a season in the Saudi Pro League but Williams, who made 14 appearances for the Socceroos, has been one of the most consistent imports in one of Asia’s top competitions.

Getting to grips with the local conditions is a prerequisite for such success.

“The majority of the players in Europe would not have come across these conditions, as they will find here in June,” Williams told The World Game.

“It is really hot and the teams here in the Middle East can use it as an advantage and it will be difficult for the boys and this is why host teams in football do well.

“They will have to acclimatise well and hydrate all the time,” the former Middlesbrough star added.

“The key is to not exert yourself if you don’t have to, even if you think you are fine. One minute everything is OK and then suddenly you are in trouble."

It has happened to the 32-year-old.

“One time, I couldn’t eat or even drink water and felt all light-headed," he said.

"It is going to take a lot of getting used to. The Aussies are very good in this field though and they will be ready. In the end, you just have to deal with it.”

Australia are at least in a great position after taking maximum points from the four games so far in Group B. They will next face Kuwait, who sit two points behind having played a game more, on June 3 before games against Taiwan and Nepal.

The final match comes on June 15 against Jordan, whose FA announced it will be submitting an official objection to the AFC after the games were switched to Kuwait and not Australia as had been previously understood.

While Williams notified Arnold of his desire to step back from the international set-up after missing out on the 2018 World Cup, if the coach wants an old Middle Eastern hand to step in this June, then he would be willing to help out.

“There are younger players ahead of me who have done very well but if they need me, they need me. I would never say no," he added.

Only the eight group winners are guaranteed a place in the third round of qualification, due to start in September, and they will be joined by the best four runners-up.