Blackpool’s Kenny Dougall plays no part as Australia’s World Cup hopes are dealt a blow

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Blackpool’s Kenny Dougall was an unused substitute as Australia were held to a draw against China – dealing a blow to their World Cup hopes.

 

The Socceroos led through Mitchell Duke’s first-half header, only to be pegged back late on by a contentious penalty.

After winning their first three group games, Graham Arnold’s side have only taken two points from their last three outings.

It means the Socceroos’ hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup hangs in the balance with just four games to go.

Saudi Arabia top the group on 16 points, while Australia slip behind Japan who were 1-0 winners against Oman.

The top two sides in the six-nation qualifying group will make it to next year’s tournament in Qatar, while the team that finishes third will face a play-off.

Dougall took no part in today’s game, although he did earn his fourth cap during last week’s goalless draw against Saudi Arabia.

Dougall was an unused substitute during today's game

Dougall was an unused substitute during today’s game

The midfielder was an 87th minute substitute as he took to the pitch on home turf for his country for the first time.

Dougall’s previous three caps had all come on the road while the Socceroos’ ‘home’ games were played on neutral ground due to Covid restrictions.

Elsewhere during this international break, Dougall’s Blackpool teammate Daniel Gretarsson earned his fourth and fifth cap for Iceland.

The defender played the full 90 during the goalless draw against Romania last week, before playing the entirety of Iceland’s 3-1 defeat to North Macedonia on Sunday evening.

The result meant Iceland finish second bottom in their qualifying group for next year’s World Cup after claiming nine points from their 10 games.

Germany topped their group, while North Macedonia finished second and will now head into a play-off.

Gretarsson has yet to make a league appearance for the Seasiders this season, his only cameo coming in the Carabao Cup tie against Sunderland back in August.

In fact, of the five games the defender has played so far this season, four have come for Iceland.

Gretarsson was an unused substitute during Blackpool’s last game before the international break, the 1-1 draw against QPR.

But the centre-back has otherwise struggled to get into Neil Critchley’s match day squad.

Gretarsson did, however, miss a short spell after suffering mild concussion during Iceland’s 4-0 win against Liechtenstein last month.

The defender, who underwent surgery during the summer to rectify a shoulder problem, has only made 16 appearances since arriving at Bloomfield Road in October 2020.