Marco Bresciano in action against Oman. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au
Following a disappointing 0-0 draw against Oman in Muscat last week, Australia will be looking to get its World Cup qualifying campaign back on track against Japan at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday night. With the top two teams at the end of the campaign earning direct qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Asian Cup finalists Japan and Australia are strongly fancied to progress and a win against their main rivals would be a huge boost to the Socceroos prospects.
They didn’t get off to the best possible start against Oman last week however, and were comprehensively outplayed by the side ranked 73 places below them in the world rankings. Holger Osieck named a defensive line-up in Muscat with Harry Kewell on his own up front, but is expected to adapt a more attacking approach at home. Premier League star Tim Cahill could earn a recall to the starting side after being an unused substitute last week, while Joshua Kennedy – who plays his club football in Japan - is another option.
Unlike the Socceroos, Japan has been ultra-impressive to date, scoring comprehensive wins in their opening two matches in the past fortnight. They defeated Oman 3-0 at home before recording an effortless 6-0 success against Jordan on Friday. Keisuke Honda scored a hat-trick in that match, while new Manchester United signing Shinji Kagawa was also on the scoresheet.
When these teams met in the Asia Cup final last year, the match ended in a draw before Japan won in extratime.
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