Will he or won't he? Australia's Tim Cahill
Will he or won't he? Australia's Tim Cahill DEAN LEWINS

Ange playing guessing games ahead of Cup qualifier

Ange Postecoglou has kept Thailand guessing ahead of tonight's crucial and unique World Cup qualifier, where the Socceroos' Russia 2018 hopes are on the line.

While Tim Cahill sat alongside the coach in the official pre-game press conference, Postecoglou would not confirm whether the Melbourne City attacker would come into the XI.

It is customary for the captain to attend the press conference with the coach and with Mile Jedinak out injured Cahill, who has won 101 international caps, would lead the side if he started.

Mark Milligan wore the armband in Japan, but Cahill is in contention to join midfielder Aaron Mooy and striker Tomi Juric as inclusions.

"No not really (can we assume Cahill's in the XI)," Postecoglou said.

"I'll make those decisions, to be fair looking at the turnaround I probably won't make the decision until tomorrow.

"The beauty of it is everyone's recovered well from the first game. Having Tomi Juric and Aaron available now, they're 100% which is a bonus for us.

"It gives me a chance to look at the whole squad and put together an 11 that I think will get the job done tomorrow. Timmy's certainly in those thoughts.

"I believe if we put in a strong performance we give ourselves a chance of winning the game and winning it well.

"It's exciting knowing that tomorrow night or the early hours of Wednesday morning we'll know whether we're in the World Cup or not."

Cahill, who came off the bench in the 2-0 loss to Japan, said the players were focused.

"We all know what's on the line, there's no special onus on this game," Cahill said.

"The only thing that matters to us is winning and making sure we play great football."

Japan plays Saudi Arabia in Jeddah at 3.30am tomorrow in what is a dead rubber for the Japanese given they have already qualified for next year's World Cup on the back of last week's 2-0 win over Australia.

But we need the Samurai Blue to do us a favour, by either taking points off the Saudis or at least avoiding a heavy defeat in order to help us sneak through with the second automatic qualification slot.

Otherwise, it's the dreaded playoffs.

News Corp Australia


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