September 14 – Syria will host the first leg of their historic Asian World Cup playoff against Australia on October 5 in the Malaysian city of Melacca.
The Syrians, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, have played all their “home” qualifiers in Malaysia since FIFA banned them from hosting matches in their war-torn country.
Reports suggested the Syrians wanted to have the first leg staged in Qatar or the United Arab Emirates to generate more home support. Syria has not played a match on home soil since 2010.
Victory in the two-legged tie against strong favourites Australia, who will host the second leg at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium on October 10, would send Syria into another playoff against the fourth-placed side from the CONCACAF region for a place in Russia next year.
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