Australia to face Japan in Melbourne


Melbourne has won the rights to host Australia's World Cup qualifier against Japan on October 11 at Etihad Stadium.

With Australia set to start the third round of Asian Football Confederation qualifying against Iraq in Perth on September 1, Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced on Wednesday that the Socceroos' second home game will be at Melbourne's second-largest stadium.

"We are excited to have locked in Docklands Stadium in Melbourne for the Caltex Socceroos' crucial World Cup qualifier against Japan in October," FFA CEO David Gallop said.

"The interest from state governments all over Australia was high and a good indication of the popularity of the Caltex Socceroos.

"The Australia v Japan World Cup qualifier will be a fantastic event and we are thrilled to be able to bring it to Melbourne.

"I'd like to thank the Victorian Government and Docklands Stadium for their support of the match and we look forward to seeing Docklands Stadium packed with fans and an atmosphere only football can provide with thousands of Japanese fans expected to be amongst the sea of green and gold."

It will be the first time Japan have visited Melbourne since 2009 when they lost 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier at the MCG.

On that occasion, Tim Cahill scored twice as the Socceroos came from behind to triumph and secure top spot ahead of Japan in their group on the way to the 2010 World Cup.

That match was the last time Japan lost to Australia, with the Samurai Blue holding a five-game unbeaten streak against the Socceroos.