Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ireland -Socceroos Preview

After topping group A of the 4th round of Asian qualifiers the Socceroos take on the Republic of Ireland in Limerick this Wednesday armed with a FIFA ranking of 16th and with the luxury of already having achieved World Cup qualification for South Africa in 2010.

The Socceroos have faced the Republic of Ireland only once before. The previous occasion was on the 19th August 2003 when the Socceroos lost 1-2 at Lansdowne Road in Dublin.

Coach of the Socceroos Dutchman Pim Verbeek has picked four debutants in Oliver Bozanic (Cheltenham), Aaron Mooy (Bolton Wanderers), Nikita Rukavytsya (Twente), and Danny Invincible (Kilmarnock) to face the Irish.

The youthful looking squad also contains Nurnberg pair Dario Vidosic and Matthew Spiranovic, Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams, James Holland from AZ Alkmaar and their is a recall for new Leeds defender Patrick Kisnorbo who last appeared in the senior national team at the AFC Asian Cup in 2007 against Iraq on the 13th July.

Socceroos fan favourite Nicky Carle gets another chance to stake a claim for a spot in South Africa while the big guns of Lucas Neil, Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano and Tim Cahill are also in the squad.

Missing from the Socceroos team for this match are the A-League contingent of Gold Coast United captain Jason Culina, the Perth Glory trio of Mile Sterjovksi, Chris Coyne, Jacob Burns and Japanese based striker Josh Kennedy.

The chance to test young players in the lead up to the World Cup in South Africa will be vital for Pim Verbeek. While Australia did well to qualify for the World Cup by topping their group and conceding very few goals along the way; the qualification series through Asia showed up the Socceroos lack of pace and creativity up front. The inclusion of Nikita Rukavytsya who has been getting game time for his Dutch club FC Twente, Dario Vidosic and Nicky Carle will please fans hoping for the Socceroos to be more attacking and adventurous than in previous games.

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named a 24-man squad to face the Socceroos and will use the hit out against the Australians to prepare for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in September and the experienced Italian coach expects Australia to provide a tough test.

Ireland are second in Group 8, five points clear of third placed Bulgaria, and a victory in Cyprus would keep the pressure on leaders Italy, who are just one point ahead of Trapattoni's team.

"This friendly is of utmost importance to our side as it acts as our final game ahead of our World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in Nicosia in September," Trapattoni said.

"Australia, who has already qualified for the World Cup, will provide a stern test for the team.

"I am looking forward to playing an international friendly of this stature at the magnificent Thomond Park in Limerick.

"I am aware of the proud sporting culture in Limerick and I am sure that the people of Munster will get behind the team for this game."

The Socceroos will play two more internationals in the next two months. A date against South Korea in Seoul in September will be followed by the Netherlands in Sydney in October before an Asian Cup qualifier against Oman.

A Football Story 11: Pim's famous 4-2-3-1

———————Mark Schwarzer——————

Rhys Williams——Matthew Spiranovic —— Lucas Neill— David Carney

——–Luke Wilkshire ——— MileJedinak———

—Mark Bresciano —–Nicky Carle—–Harry Kewell———

-———Scott McDonald———

Socceroos squad: Oliver Bozanic (Cheltenham), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Tim Cahill (Everton), Nick Carle(Crystal Palace), David Carney (Sheffield Utd), Ante Covic (Elfsborg), James Holland (AZ Alkmaar), Brett Holman(AZ Alkmaar), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi), Danny Invincible (Kilmarnock), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds Utd), Adrian Madaschi (Portogruaro), Scott McDonald (Celtic), Aaron Mooy (Bolton Wanderers), Lucas Neill(uncontracted), Jade North (Incheon), Nikita Rukavytsya (Twente), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Matthew Spiranovic (Nurnberg), Dario Vidosic (Nurnberg), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow)

Republic of Ireland squad:

Shay Given (Man City), Keiren Westwood (Coventry), Joe Murphy (Scunthorpe), John O'Shea (Man Utd), Kevin Foley (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Man City), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Kevin Kilbane (Hull), Eddie Nolan (Preston), Sean St Ledger (Preston), Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Damien Duff (Newcastle), Darron Gibson (Man Utd), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (Blackburn), Liam Miller (unattached), Stephen Hunt (Reading), Andrew Keogh (Wolves), Liam Lawrence (Stoke), Caleb Folan (Hull), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Robbie Keane (Tottenham), Shane Long (Reading), Best (Coventry).

Match Details

International Friendly
Republic of Ireland v Qantas Socceroos
Kick-off 7:30pm WEST (4:30am AEST)
Wednesday 12 August 2009
Thomond Park , Limerick, Republic of Ireland

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