Japan vs Australia 31/8/2017
It is a tight qualifying group with Japan on 17 points, and Saudi Arabia and Australia both on 16 points. A win in Saitama will guarantee the Blue Samurai a spot in next year’s finals, while the opposite could be fatal as they travel to Saudi Arabia in the last round. Australia will be delighted to leave with a draw as they next host lowly Thailand in Melbourne in their final qualifier. Captain and holding midfielder Mile Jedinak is out due to a long-term groin problem but China-based defender Trent Sainsbury will be back to hold the fort after recovering from a hamstring injury. Australia were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Japan in their qualifier last year and have not beaten them in their past six matches.