Crucial few months ahead for Socceroos
Socceroos player Tim Cahill competes for the ball with Japan's Makoto Hasebe. AAP Image/Dave Hunt
In less than a month’s time, the Socceroos will be back in action with a friendly in Edinburgh, Scotland.
For all Socceroos fans this will be an important test with two enormously crucial World Cup qualifying matches coming up in the Middle East against Jordan and Iraq.
Armchair fans will look at our group and assume that, besides Japan, it’s an easy group. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, it certainly is not.
As it stands, the Socceroos have earned two points from as many games in their qualifying group, which is decent considering the conditions in which they were forced to play in Oman, and the obvious quality of a Japanese side which would give any team in the world a tough game.
The game against Scotland is the perfect chance for coach Holger Osieck to throw in some of the future mainstays of the national team. Anyone who won’t take the game against the Scots seriously can forget about Brazil 2014 now.
By the end of the games against Jordan and Iraq, the Socceroos will have a fair idea of what it’s going to take to confirm their place at the World Cup. It is vital that we take maximum points from these two games to avoid a heart racing finish to our qualifying campaign.
In the game against Scotland, Holger should also be looking to blood some of the up and coming players that will be the main core for Brazil 2014. I can’t stress enough the importance of mixing Chris Herd into the squad unless injury gets in the way.
At still only 23, the ever versatile Herd, who can play as a right back or anywhere in the midfield, will be a much needed addition to our ageing team. Apart from a couple of exceptions, we have a very old and slow backline.
Holger must have in his mind that Sasa Ognenovski and Lucas Neil will most certainly not be the centre back pairing at the next World Cup. The fact that they are still playing for the Socceroos regularly concerns a few. Both must step down somewhere along the track to allow the likes of Devere, Williams, Spiranovic or even Lowry to come through. Take your pick.
We could have a disaster worse than against the Germans in 2010 if we draw Brazil in the group stages and Neil and Ognenovski come up against the pace of Neymar. Now that’s a worrying thought.
An interesting dilemma Holger must have on his mind will be whether to call up Australian born Uruguayan Richard Porta. He may not be able to speak English but he could be a handy acquisition to have upfront, having spent years banging in the goals at club level in Uruguay.
With Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani ahead of him in the national team it is fair to say he won’t be getting picked for Uruguay anytime soon.
With only one goal in our two qualifying games, most Socceroos fans would have to think why not? He has recently stated his desire to put on the green and gold and surely he is worth a shot.
Throw in a couple of players such as James Troisi (who may be playing in Serie A next season – only time will tell) and Nikita Rukavytsya who seems to be finding his pacey feet in Germany, our chances of attending Brazil don’t seem too bad.
Our goalkeeping stocks seem healthy for the next 15 to 20 years with Federici, Langerak and Mathew Ryan all coming through nicely.
There are plenty of other names knocking on the door that could have a good part to play on the road to Brazil 2014, but the main thing for us Socceroos fans is to not hit the panic button just yet and have faith in Holger and the boys to get the job done.
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