The remaining home games of Australia’s World Cup qualifying campaign will take place exclusively on the east coast, with the nation’s soccer chief saying Perth and Adelaide no longer have big enough venues.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced that what is expected to be the Socceroos’ final competitive game before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – against Japan next June – would be held at the MCG.

Their two preceding home qualifiers – against Uzbekistan in April and Bahrain in June – will be played in Sydney, most likely at ANZ Stadium.

The Socceroos are currently in Brisbane, preparing for their first home game of their final qualification phase against Qatar on Wednesday night.

FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said the venue decisions were primarily based on where they could pull the biggest crowds.

“It’s not to say that there’s not a very large following for the team in Perth or Adelaide, but venue type, venue structure, venue fit is very, very important,” Buckley told reporters at the MCG.

“We would expect that we would have in excess of 80-90,000 people at a match here at the MCG, we can host a match in Sydney for 80,000 people, we can host a match in Brisbane for 55,000 people.

“Perth and Adelaide just don’t have the stadia at this point in time that allows us to maximise the crowds.”

Buckley said he was not concerned that the Socceroos could be perceived as a team for eastern Australia, not the whole nation.

He said Asian Cup qualifying fixtures scheduled to be played against Kuwait and Indonesia next year could be better suited to Perth and Adelaide.

“But for a match like Australia versus Japan you need a very, very large stadium and you need a big platform to play that on,” he said.

“… We’ve become very strong rivals in the last few years and this is the ideal venue and the ideal city to play in.”

While Melbourne lobbied hard to stage the Japan game, which could decide whether or not the Socceroos make it to the World Cup, it has the capacity to be anti-climactic, as Australia might have already qualified by that time.

But Buckley expected even if it was a “dead rubber” it would attract a big crowd.

“It will be the final match of the Qantas Socceroos prior to the World Cup,” he said.

“We may play a friendly match between now and then but it will certainly be the (last) match that counts for points and we would expect that there would still be crowds in big numbers to come out and support the team.”

There is a possibility the Socceroos will still have to play more qualifying games after the Japan clash.

If they finish third in their group, they will face a home-and-away play-off against the team that finishes third in the other Asian group.

The winner of that encounter will then face Oceania’s top team New Zealand for a spot in the 2010 finals in South Africa.