Rhys Williams has been in good form for Middlesbrough. Picture: Colleen Petch/dailytelegraph.com.au
Australia tackles France in an international friendly at Parc de Princes in Paris on Saturday morning (AEST), looking to bounce back from a humiliating 6-0 defeat to Brazil at its most recent outing. The Socceroos have lost their past three matches and another sub-standard performance just eight months out from the World Cup would see boss Holger Osieck under mounting pressure to keep his job ahead of football’s showpiece event, so there is plenty at stake against the 1998 World Cup winners.
The Socceroos squad for this fixture and the match against Canada on Tuesday is predominantly made up of foreign based players, with Matt McKay the only A-League player with the squad following the withdrawal of Mark Milligan due to a knee injury. Brett Holman and Tom Rogic have also been ruled out, while Dario Vidosic, Tommy Oar and Sasa Ognenovski are all doubtful. Rhys Williams and Jason Davidson could get a rare start in defence, while Mat Ryan or Mitch Langerak will deputise between the sticks for Mark Schwarzer, who was left out of the squad.
France has slipped to 25 on FIFA’s world rankings but still boasts a strong lineup, with the likes of Samir Nasri , Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery in the squad. Although France coach Didier Deschamps will want to maintain a run that has seen the side go three games without defeat, he will also be mindful of the fact that his side tackles Finland in a World Cup qualifier four days later.
These sides have met on three previous occasions for one win apiece, while the most recent meeting, in Melbourne 12 years ago, finished in a draw . Australia won 1-0 five months earlier when the pair did battle at the Confederations Cup in South Korea, while France scored a 1-0 victory in Japan way back in 1994.
LIVE on Fox Sports 1 from 5.00am (AEST) Saturday October 12.
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