Lebanon v Australia International Friendly

Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au
Mark Bresciano was Australia's only goalscorer against Scotland last month. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au

The Socceroos have bigger fish to fry next week when they take on Jordan in an all-important World Cup qualifier, but a friendly with Lebanon on Friday morning will give Holgar Osieck’s squad a chance to reacquaint itself with the Middle East heat before Wednesday morning’s match in Amman.

What should be a run-of-the-mill friendly carries an added level of importance for Australia after four losses on the bounce, including the disastrous 3-1 defeat to Scotland last month. It’s the national team’s longest losing streak since 2000, which came not long after Frank Farina had taken the reins.

Lebanon sits 127th in FIFA world rankings, but they recently rose 17 places, and the Cedars have reached the fourth round of World Cup qualifying for the first time in their history. They held 70th-ranked Uzbekistan to a 1-1 draw in Beirut in June, but losses in their other two Asian qualifiers leave them in last place in Group A.

Whatever the result, the match is likely to be best remembered for Mark Schwarzer’s achievement of becoming the first Australian to be capped 100 times. Tim Cahill returns to the squad after missing the Scotland friendly due to his move from Everton to the New York Red Bulls.

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