The Socceroos’ next generation get their first taste of competitive football tonight when they face Hong Kong to open their 2013 East Asian Cup qualifying campaign. We’ll have live scores and commentary from kick-off at 11.30pm AEDT.
While there are a host of the A-League’s finest young talent in Holger Osieck’s squad for the 2013 East Asian Cup qualifying campaign, most eyes will be focused on one midfielder set to make his competitive debut.
2012 has seen Tom Rogic go from the obscurity of the ACT Premier League to Mariners playmaker and now finally to the Socceroos and it will be exciting to watch Australia’s finest young footballer take his next step.
The team, selected almost exclusively of A-League players, might not be up against much opposition in the 172nd ranked Hong Kong but any competitive experience is invaluable as the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign comes to its zenith next year.
In reality, many in this squad won’t be travelling to Brazil if the Socceroos do indeed qualify, but the tournament presents another opportunity for the likes of Archie Thompson, Matt McKay and Brett Emerton to solidify their position within the senior team.
For Rogic, Red Star Belgrade striker Eli Babalj and Aziz Behich, the upcoming four games allows a chance to continue to remind Holger Osieck of their readiness to go to Brazil.
Given that the side has had little time to prepare it will be important that the senior players named in the starting lineup guide the team, and Emerton, Richard Garcia and Archie Thompson need to lead their younger teammates.
DPR Korea look the main dangers to Australia joining Japan, China and South Korea in the 2013 East Asian Cup next year and with the Socceroos facing the Koreans on Wednesday, a dominant performance tonight will give the side momentum going into their litmus test.
Barring a minor catastrophe the Socceroos will collect three points tonight, but what most Socceroos fans will want to see is a dominant, commanding performance to compliment the win.
Note: Despite information on the FFA website during the day stating the match will begin at 8.30pm AEDT, it will in fact kick-off at 11.30pm AEDT. You can stream the action online at The World Game, or follow the action with our live blog right here.