Australia beat Thailand, but still no closer to World Cup qualification

Posted September 07, 2017

"Your victory made all of us happy".

Mohamad scored in the 13th minute before Iran equalised through Sardar Azmoun, who chested in a rebound on the stroke of half-time and then put the hosts ahead in the 64th minute.

"I have promised customers desserts on the house if we win", said Ali, who has plastered a massive poster of the national team on the wall.

Despite an incredible 45 shots on goal, the Socceroos couldn't find the margin against Thailand at AAMI Park that would have seen them overtake the Saudis on goal difference - meaning a win by any score for the home side would have done the job.

But the stage to which the Syrian footballers have reached in the recent games is against all odds, with the difficulty of the training and the lack of good atmosphere with their country being ripped by a seven-year war.

Veteran forward Firas Al Khatib, who had refused to join up with the team due to his opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, ended his boycott in March, leaving Al Soma as the last remaining high-profile stay away. The rest play for teams in China, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.

Syria's opponent on the field Tuesday - Iran - is a regional political ally that has provided crucial political and military support to shore up Assad's forces in the war.

Even with Iran having one less player, Korea failed to win. Stretching the retreating Iranian defense, Mardik Mardikian threaded a ball through to striker Omar Al Somah - and guess where he s from, Deir Ezzor.

Big screens were erected in public squares in the capital Damascus for public screenings and fans also packed into coffee shops and sports halls to watch the broadcast from Iran.

The politics of Syria's run has not been lost on anyone.

It seemed the ban on women attending men's football matches had been lifted on Saturday, when an option for women's tickets for a World Cup qualifier against Syria appeared online. The first match on October 5 will be played at a yet-to-be announced neutral venue before the Syrian team travels to Australia for the return leg on October 10.

"We have had a fantastic journey on the road to the finals and it is just shame we could not end it with a win", Halilhodzic told the post-match press conference. The defense of the Iranians looks very powerful, which cannot be said about the guest matches of Syria.