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Australian Football: King set for Socceroos debut

Sydney FC left-back Joel King looks set to make his Socceroos debut after a snow storm left first-choice Aziz Behich stranded in Turkey.

Australia are priced at 500/1 to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup but need to qualify first and have a crucial double-header against Vietnam and Oman coming up.

Behich ruled out

Behich plays his club football in Turkey with Girensunspor and was due to fly into Melbourne for Thursday night's clash with Vietnam before bad weather came in.

The 31-year-old's plane was unable to take off and it now means that King will get his chance to shine and assistant coach Rene Meulensteen is more than confident he will do a good job.

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"It is a shame because he (Behich) was very keen to play for the Socceroos," Meulensteen said. "We've got plenty of cover to deal with that so it's just another challenge we've got to face.

"It's a possibility (King will debut). We bring all the players in so we are covered in every position.

"The good thing is some players are so versatile that they can cover for more than one position.

"Joel has come in and deserves the right to be selected. He's played a lot of important games and he's done well, so if we decide to give Joel his debut we are confident he's ready for it."

Crucial qualifiers

Australia now need to win all four of their remaining qualifiers to give themselves a great chance of finishing in the top two of group B which would mean automatic qualification.

"The players are aware of that themselves," Meulensteen admitted. "We've been together for three years, it's all about our mental attitude and what we take to the pitch.

"There's enormous trust between the players and staff.

"We always have a positive approach, there's no point in speculating but we must reassure ourselves what we are here for and what we have to do."

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