Mile Jedinak returns for the Socceroos on Saturday morning. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
The Aussies #QL_SS#1428339;70954SS# will be out to impress in their final hit out before the World Cup when they face Croatia #QL_SS#1428339;70952SS# on Saturday morning (AEST).
Ange Postecoglou will expect a complete performance this time round, something he didn’t get last week against South Africa. The Socceroos came out of the blocks firing against Bafana Bafana, but struggled to create chances for a majority of the match. That result caused Socceroos fans to panic ahead of next week’s tournament, with the South African side virtually their second choice squad due to a string of their best players not travelling. Postecoglou will field captain Mile Jedinak this time round. The Crystal Palace skipper was forced out of the South African match with a knee injury, but has since recovered. Veteran midfielder Mark Bresciano is expected to miss the fixture in Salvador, though as he continues to fight a back problem.
Croatia, like Australia, has been drawn a tricky group in Brazil. They face the hosts, Mexico and Cameroon, but they certainly have the squad to progress from the group stages. They also have the squad to rattle the Aussies, spearheaded by Bayern Munich striker Mario Manzukic. Captain and Real midfielder Luka Modric will be the obvious danger to the Australian backline, and it will be up to Jedinak to keep him under wraps. Other players the Aussie’s need to watch include Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic and Sevilla’s Ivan Ratkic.
Saturday morning will be a tough test for the Socceroos and it’s exactly what they need ahead of next week’s tournament. The Croats will kick off as favourites, but Ange Postecoglou will be quietly confident his men can cause a minor upset.
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