Cahill Returns For Socceroos

Source: AAP/
Tim Cahill returns for the Socceroos against Oman. Source: AAP/
Australia  can move a step closer to a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a win against Oman  at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night. Currently second in Group B of the Asian qualifiers, Holger Osieck’s troops enter a final stages of qualifying well placed to advance to football’s showpiece event for the third successive time, with three of their final four matches to be played at home and a game in hand over their nearest pursuers.

New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill returns to the 24-man squad after missing out on the side’s 3-2 defeat to Romania on February 7 but veteran midfielder Brett Emerton has been overlooked. 40 year-old goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will captain the side in the absence of suspended regular skipper Lucas Neill, while Matthew Spiranovic, Adam Federici and Matt Smith are injured. Leading scorer Josh Kennedy is still recovering from back surgery and is unavailable, meaning that Cahill is likely to be partnered by Fortuna Dusseldorf striker Robbie Kruse up front.

Despite being ranked 66 places ahead of Oman in the world rankings, Australia will not take the Arab state lightly, having failed to win either of the past two matches between the pair. Oman held the Socceroos to a draw  in Muscat last June, just seven months after recording a 1-0  win against them at the same venue. Australia has fared better against Middle East opposition at home, having defeated Saudi Arabia 4-2  and Oman 3-0  at home in the last phase of qualifying.

Prior to its 3-2 loss to Romania in Spain last month, Australia had gone six matches without defeat, while Oman lost to both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates at the Gulf Cup earlier this year.

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