Socceroos Under Friendly Fire

Picture: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP
Socceroo Matt McKay has been ruled out due to a facial injury. Image courtesy of Khalil Mazraawi/AFP
Socceroos head coach Holger Osieck should have a greater idea about the depth in his squad after his side takes on Asian powerhouse the Korea Republic on Wednesday night (AEDT). Osieck has named five players without international experience in his 19-man squad, including the A-League’s standout goalkeeper, Mat Ryan from the Mariners. There are also another six players with less than ten caps in the squad.

While Australia has stumbled its way to equal second place in Group B in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Korea Republic jumped out of the blocks with big wins over Qatar (4-1) and Lebanon (3-0) . The world’s 32nd-ranked team remains equal top of Group A with Iran, which stunned the Koreans 1-0 in mid-October.

Australia’s late fightback to beat Iraq 2-1 in Doha last month saved Osieck further embarrassment after a poor start to the qualifying campaign, and has now put the Socceroos in the box seat to make the top two with three matches to come at home.

The countries last met in the 2011 Asian Cup where they played out an entertaining 1-all draw in the group phase. The Socceroos have been poor in their Friendlies so far in 2012, losing 2-0 to Denmark and 3-1 to Scotland, before accounting for the 112th-ranked Lebanon 3-0 in September. It’s in stark contrast to 2011 where Osieck’s team won four of its six Friendlies.

The third-leading scorer in Australia’s history, Tim Cahill, isn’t with the squad in Hwaesong. Archie Thompson (3 goals) and Alex Brosque (2) are the Socceroos’ leading marksmen in 2012, and are good options to be first scorers in a team which is light on for proven attacking weapons at this level. Lee Keun-Ho (5) and Lee Dong-Gook (4) have both been on target on multiple occasions for the Korea Republic this year. 

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