SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Australia’s home World Cup qualifying game against China on Sept. 2 will instead be played in Qatar, the Asian Football Confederation confirmed Thursday.
The change was made “in light of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and China,” the AFC said, as arrivals into both countries face 14-day quarantines.
China will stay in Qatar, which hosts next year’s World Cup, to face Japan five days later while Australia will head to Hanoi to play Vietnam in Group B.
Australia soccer federation chief executive James Johnson said it’s disappointing to not play at home, but he’s hopeful about scheduled home games against Oman and Saudi Arabia in October and November, respectively.
“History highlights that playing on home soil provides a distinct advantage for the Socceroos when it comes to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup,” Johnson…