Australia qualified for the 2022 Qatar World Cup after a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout win over Peru in their intercontinental playoff. Our sportsbook is offering a great range of betting markets and props for the World Cup.
Ajdin Hrustic: Eintracht Frankfurt
Since he was 15 years old, Ajdin Hrustic was eager to establish himself as an elite player in Europe’s top five leagues. The attacking midfielder was Australia’s best player against the United Arab Emirates, scoring the winning goal of the match that qualified the Socceroos in the playoff against Peru.
In 2020, he signed a professional contract with Eintracht Frankfurt and was a key figure when the Bundesliga club won the Europa League final against Rangers last season. Growing up in Australia with a Bosnian father and Romanian mother, Hrustic could have played for either nation before Australia finally came calling. A man who played a big role in keeping Hrustic in the green and gold was former Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic.
Ange Postecoglou offered him the national team debut in 2017 in a friendly versus Brazil. So far, he earned 19 international caps, scoring three goals in the process. He doesn’t play in each game for Eintracht Frankfurt but he scored three goals in 34 appearances for his club. Hrustic has not yet played a game in the 2022-23 Bundesliga season and it will be very tough to earn his place in the starting lineup after Eintracht’s busy transfer window. Frankfurt is one of the top teams in the Bundesliga, but they have a poor start to the season so if you’re betting online you should avoid backing them for now.
For all the negativity that has surrounded the Socceroos’ journey toward Qatar, the form of Hrustic has been a source of inspiration. But, if it seems he’s come from obscurity, it is because his story began in the shadows of the Australian game. Hrustic constantly demands the ball, isn’t afraid to take players on, and always seeks to create an opening. That, and his unpredictability on the pitch, have made him one of Australia’s best assets during the qualifying campaign.
Kye Rowles: Hearts
Kye Rowles, who the Scottish club Hearts transferred in the summer transfer window, was thrown into the frying pan for his first competitive cap after impressing his former club. The center-back played 90 minutes in a 2-1 friendly victory against Jordan in Qatar, the reward for a consistent domestic campaign with Central Coast Mariners. That attracted attention from Hearts and other European clubs as 23-year-old Rowles looked to take the next step in his career.
He intends to do everything possible to ensure Australia coach Graham Arnold faces a difficult decision between him and fellow defenders Milos Degenek and Trent Sainsbury. It’s very important that he will play in every match for Hearts before the World Cup. He already kicked off the season with his club, picking up seven points in the first three games. He started as a regular and he also offered an assist in the 4-1 victory against Dundee United.
Australia’s World Cup Expectations
The Socceroos qualified for the fifth consecutive World Cup, an incredible achievement given the country’s 32-year absence before John Aloisi sealed entry into the 2006 competition. They were drawn into a difficult group together with France, Denmark and Tunisia. It will be almost impossible for them to make it out of the group and qualify in the knockout stages, but they should be able to fight Tunisia for third place.
They are fourth favorites to qualify from Group D being priced at +330 according to the latest soccer odds. They will kick off their campaign against France and, of course, they are heavy underdogs being priced at +1275.