Australia vs. Bangladesh World Cup Qualifying Preview: Predictions, Team News, Lineups

Australia is set to kick off their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign in Melbourne as they face Bangladesh on Thursday.

The visitors have already advanced through the first stage of qualifying by narrowly defeating the Maldives in the playoffs.

Match Preview

After a drought of 32 years without an appearance in the World Cup finals, Australia has become a regular participant in football’s most prestigious event.

Impressive performances in the last five tournaments, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where they reached the knockout rounds for the second time, have solidified their status as a formidable team.

As the third-highest ranked team in the Asia section of qualifying, Australia is expected to dominate a group that includes Palestine, Lebanon, and Bangladesh.

A top-two finish in Group I would secure their advancement to the third and final stage of qualifying, as well as a guaranteed spot in the 2027 Asia Cup.

Graham Arnold’s side will be looking to secure consecutive victories after ending a four-game winless streak with a 2-0 triumph over New Zealand in their last international match in October.

On the other hand, Bangladesh secured their place in the second round of qualifying with a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Maldives.

A stoppage-time equalizer from Saad Uddin resulted in a 1-1 draw in the away leg, while goals from Rakib Hossain and Foysal Ahmed Fahim secured a 2-1 victory in the second leg.

Ranked 183rd in the FIFA World Rankings, Bangladesh enters the second stage of qualifying as clear underdogs.

However, they have proven to be a resilient team, avoiding defeat in regulation time in their last seven matches.

Nevertheless, their record of 11 losses in their last 15 away games (with only one win and three draws) in World Cup qualifying highlights the difficult challenge they face on Thursday.

Australia’s recent form in all competitions includes a win, two losses, a draw, and another loss, followed by a win.

On the other hand, Bangladesh’s form in World Cup qualifying – Asia includes a draw and a win, while their overall form consists of a win, a loss, and three draws.

Team News:

Australia could field a center-back pairing of Harry Souttar and Cameron Burgess, with Ryan Strain and Jordan Bos operating as full-backs.

Mitchell Duke, who has scored in his last two J2 League matches for Machida Zelvia, will lead Australia’s attack.

Charlton goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer and Portsmouth forward Kusini Yengi are the two uncapped players in the squad and may feature among the substitutes.

For Bangladesh, midfielder Sohel Rana will serve a one-match suspension following his red card in the second-leg victory over the Maldives.

Teenage goalkeeper Mitul Marma will guard the goal, supported by defenders Uddin, Tariq Kazi, Bishwanath Ghosh, and Shakil Hossain. Rakib Hossain and Fahim will provide the main attacking threat for the visitors.

Possible Starting Lineups:



Strain, Souttar, Burgess, Bos;

Boyle, Baccus, Irvine, Goodwin;





Kazi, Uddin, Ghosh, S Hossain;

Ridoy, MS Rana, Bhuyan, Rahman Jony;

R Hossain, Fahim

Prediction: Australia 4-0 Bangladesh

Given the vast difference in rankings, with Australia positioned 156 places higher than Bangladesh, we anticipate a comfortable victory for the Socceroos. The home team’s superior skill and experience should be evident on the pitch.

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