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Syria working to stage WC playoff home-leg in Middle East

Syria could stage the crucial home-leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff against Australia in the Middle East.

The winner of the Australia and Syria playoff will meet the fourth-placed CONCACAF team in a two-leg tie in November for a spot at the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

Syria have not played on home soil since 2010 due to their ongoing conflict and held all of their third-round Asian qualifiers in Malaysia. It was anticipated they would play host to Australia on October 5.

However it is now being reported the Syrian FA are in talks with Middle Eastern nations about holding the first-leg before they meet Australia in Sydney for the second-leg.

Australia will go into the game overwhelming favourites, as confirmed by 888sport, and Syria are seeking any type of advantage by holding talks with the federations of Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates about holding the first-leg. Australia secured a playoff spot after scraping a victory over Thailand.

Reports suggest that Abu Dhabi is the frontrunner.

"We haven't heard anything officially but we're also watching to see when the venue will be confirmed," FFA chief executive David Gallop said.

Australia, featuring a generation of new players, have won just two of their last five qualifiers in Western Asia.

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Paul Vegas

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