Al Habsi eyes World Cup

Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi
Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi
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WIGAN goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi is hoping to take a big step towards the 2014 World Cup later today when Oman take on Thailand in the latest round of Asian qualifiers.

A win will be enough for Oman to go through behind group winners Australia – assuming the Socceroos don’t suffer a shock home loss against Saudi Arabia.

And the Wigan goalkeeper admits his countrymen are determined to remain on course for the finals in Brazil.

“It’s been a big month for Oman football – we’ve had Olympic qualifiers, Wigan Athletic coming over for a short visit and now the game against Thailand,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

“We are so close to the World Cup, and of course it would be a dream come true to make it through to the finals.”

Al Habsi is not the only Wiganer in action today, with six of his team-mates also flying the flag – and risking possible injury – for the cause.

James McArthur has joined Gary Caldwell in the Scotland party for the friendly against Slovenia, while James McCarthy and Ireland have a Euro 2012 warm-up against the Czech Republic.

Antolin Alcaraz and Momo Diame will be raking in the air miles again, with Paraguay taking on Panama and Senegal travelling to South Africa, while Victor Moses will make his Nigeria debut in an African Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali.

Moses has finally pledged his allegiance to the Super Eagles after months of ‘will he, won’t he’ speculation regarding a possible England call-up.

“Victor’s not always felt ready to make a decision on his international career, but he has now and I’m really pleased for him,” said Roberto Martinez.

“He feels it’s the right time to get involved in international football now and I totally respect that.”

WIN A PAIR OF GLOVES SIGNED BY AL HABSI IN THIS WEEK’S WIGAN OBSERVER ...