Preview: Saudi Arabia vs. Oman

Preview: Saudi Arabia vs. Oman

Saudi Arabia play host to Oman on Thursday evening knowing that victory will take them a step closer to securing their place at the World Cup.

While the home side currently sit at the top of Group B, Oman are in fourth position, four points adrift of third-placed Australia.

Having been drawn in a group involving Japan and Australia, there was a strong argument that Saudi Arabia were third favourites to prevail in top spot of Group B.

However, 16 points have been collected from a possible 18, their only draw coming Down Under, and there is now every confidence that Saudi Arabia will upstage their more illustrious opponents.

A meeting with Japan is to follow this contest, a potentially pivotal clash in the grand scheme of things, but the Green Falcons will be focused on trying to take advantage of this game.

When the two teams met on matchday two, Saleh Al-Shehri scored the decisive goal, and Saudi Arabia have now gone 15 World Cup qualifying fixtures without suffering defeat.

Herve Renard will be optimistic about that becoming 16 on Thursday, although there will be no complacency within their ranks as their opponents look to stay in contention.

Oman already have a win over Japan in this group, and even collecting a point will keep the pressure on Australia, who they play next Tuesday, as they bid to earn a playoff tie.

Since their last World Cup qualifying fixture, Oman have played games in the Arab Cup, reaching the quarter-final stage before losing 2-1 to Tunisia.

Their opponents eventually made the final, only losing to Algeria in extra time, and it should give Branko Ivankovic and his squad the belief that they can cause their hosts problems on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia World Cup Qualifying – Asia form:
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Saudi Arabia form (all competitions):
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Oman World Cup Qualifying – Asia form:
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Oman form (all competitions):
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We say: Saudi Arabia 2-1 Oman
Despite the difference in positions, this should prove to be a competitive fixture. Nevertheless, while we expect Oman to raise their level with the stakes so high, Saudi Arabia’s superior quality should shine through in the crucial moments.

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