Soccer-Souttar injury blow for Australia
By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Australia are highly likely to be without Harry Souttar for next week's World Cup qualifier against China in Sharjah after the defender was carried off the pitch on a stretcher during Thursday's 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia.
The Stoke City centre half, born in Scotland to an Australian mother, collapsed on the Western Sydney Stadium pitch in agony after over-extending his leg as he helped foil a Saudi attack late in the clash.
"Very serious," Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said of the injury after the match.
"Probably too early for me to say too much about it, he's in considerable pain. He'll be having scans tomorrow but I don't think he'll be coming to the UAE."
Souttar's combination with Trent Sainsbury in central defence has been the bedrock of an Australia team which has lost only one of their last 13 matches.
"At this moment I'm really feeling bad for Harry, he's a great guy, and I believe he's the best centre back in Asia," Arnold added.
"If it turns out to be serious, it's a big blow for us."
Arnold thought the injury had stalled Australia's momentum, allowing the Saudis a couple of opportunities to snatch a win at the end of the match.
"Overall it was a very good performance, we had our chances to score," he said.
"The Saudis fought back when our boys showed a bit of fatigue and I think in the end a draw was a fair result."
Saudi Arabia top Group B at the halfway stage of the final round of Asian World Cup qualifying, three points ahead of Australia. The top two qualify directly for Qatar next year.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Toby Davis)
((Nick.Mulvenney@tr.com; +61 2 9321 8190;))