Socceroos to return home after two years on the road

Australia’s national football team will play on home soil for the first time in over two years when it hosts Saudi Arabia at Parramatta’s CommBank Stadium on November 11.

The FIFA World Cup qualifier will take place some 763 days after the team’s last match in front of home fans against Nepal in Canberra in October 2019.

CommBank Stadium, also known as Western Sydney Stadium, will operate at 75% capacity for the match, which will mean that around 22,500 tickets will go on sale.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to Australia playing home matches overseas for the past 18 months. The team has been forced to play matches in Kuwait and Qatar due to travel restrictions and quarantine rules in Australia.

Australia’s return home has been made possible following months of discussions between Football Australia and the New South Wales Government, in collaboration with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said: “The Socceroos are an iconic Australian team and one that has always enjoyed a very close connection with the Australian public.

“Unfortunately, throughout the team’s pursuit of qualification for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup, they have had to play 11 of their 12 matches abroad. Despite the challenges which this has presented, the Socceroos have performed exceptionally well.”

New South Wales’ Minister for Tourism, Stuart Ayres, added: “The NSW Government is focused on investing in world-class events to deliver on our goal of becoming the premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.

“After the difficult period we have had during COVID-19, welcoming back the Socceroos could not have come at a better time for football fans. I look forward to watching this blockbuster game on NSW soil.”

CommBank Stadium opened in April 2019 and serves as the home of A-League team Western Sydney Wanderers and NRL rugby league club the Parramatta Eels. The venue was previously known as Bankwest Stadium but underwent a rebrand in September.

Australia will play its second match of the international window against China on November 16, with details of the match still to be finalised. Australia is currently second in its qualifying group, behind Saudi Arabia.

Image: Mbroky95/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size