The Socceroos start their pursuit of the Asian Cup in 2 days, having played their last friendly before the tournament against UAE, which they drew 0-0.
Lucas Neil had a goal ruled out for an apparent offside against defensive partner Sasa Ognenovski. Matt McKay and Nathan Burns got starts, while Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse and Neil Kilkenny all got run-outs with Holger Osieck resting most of his stars.
Australia play India in their opening match on 11th January, before a game against South Korea on the 14th and Bahrain on the 18th.
They will then face either Iran, Iraq, North Korea or UAE in the Quater-Finals on 22nd January if they finish first or second in their group.
The Semi-Final is to be played on 25th January and the Final on 29th January.
A tournament which we should and can win, it will be a big test for Holger Osieck and his ageing stars and promising youngsters. I hope Qatar either loss all their games and fail to score a goal, or they make it to the Final and we thrash them 5-0. Oh and I also hope there are absolutely no supporters at the games and someone dies from heat exhaustion. Thankyou.
Goalkeepers: Mark Schwarzer, Nathan Coe, Bradley Jones
Defenders: Lucas Neil, David Carney, Sasa Ognenovski, Luke Wilkshire, Jade North, Matthew Spiranovic, Jonathon McKain
Midfielders: Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell, Brett Holman, Michael Jedinak, Carl Valeri, Matt McKay, Tommy Oar, Neil Kilkenny
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Scott McDonald, Nathan Burns, Robbie Kruse
While I’d love to see Spiranovic get experience, I think it’s best to give Neil and Ognenovski the central defence roles in order to get Sasa up to speed with playing for the Socceroos. Carney and Wilkshire would take the wing-back positions.
The midfield should be made up from Culina, Kewell, Holman and Jedinak, with Emerton used from the bench and Oar and Kilkenny as back-up.
Up front we’d of course have Cahill and although McDonald has had more chances than anyone deserves I think he should be given the starting berth and this could be seen as his last chance to impress.
If I had my way Neil, Emerton and Schwarzer wouldn’t be there though I think Osieck has chosen a decent squad barring the inclusion of Kruse, which baffles. He is not a player who could play at a World Cup, so why take him? Anyway, really the minimum target here is winning the thing, whether that’s too high of an expectation…with the experience in the squad it has to be the aim…