Syria, ranked 75th, have previously never reached the World Cup.
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A qualifying campaign that has defied civil war and internal splits has brought Syria within sight of a miraculous World Cup berth – if they can overcome Asian champions Australia.Syria were given little chance of making an impact in Asia's qualifiers but after reaching the regional playoffs, they stand four games away from Russia 2018 .Coach Ayman al-Hakim has forged a resilient unit which has an added goal threat since the return from the sidelines of forward Firas al-Khatib, who had voiced support for the Syrian rebellion, and sharpshooter Omar al-Soma, whose long absence was also believed to be for political reasons.Syria, ranked 75th, have never reached the World Cup before and they needed Soma's injury-time equalizer against Iran last month to take them into the Asian playoffs.Syria start as underdogs against Australia, who have played the last three World Cups and reached the last 16 in 2006, losing controversially to eventual winners Italy.
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