Socceroos' World Cup playoff against Syria to be held in Malaysia

Malaysia will host Syria's home match against Australia in a 2018 World Cup playoff, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced.

The Socceroos will head to the Hang Jebat Stadium for the Oct. 5 match before hosting the Syrians at Sydney's ANZ Stadium five days later.

The venue in the city of Malacca, two hours south of Kuala Lumpur, hosted Syria's home matches during the third round of AFC World Cup qualifying.

There had been reports that Syria had requested the match to be played in the Middle East -- Doha and Abu Dhabi had been mentioned as potential venues -- before the AFC intervened to confirm Malacca as the venue.

The reigning Asian champions have struggled in the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia over the past decade.

Last November, they were held to a 2-2 draw by Thailand in a World Cup qualifier at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium.

At the same arena during the 2007 Asian Cup, they lost 3-1 to Iraq, drew 1-1 with Oman before defeating the Thais 4-0 to advance to a quarterfinal against Japan in Hanoi. They would lose that match on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The winners of the AFC playoff will face the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF -- potentially the United States -- in a two-legged playoff in November for a place at Russia 2018.