With next month’s crucial 2014 World Cup Qualifier against Oman looming, fringe Socceroos will be looking to make the most of their chance when they face Romania in Spain this morning. We’ll have live scores and commentary from 6.45am AEDT.
It’s less than 18 months until the 2014 World Cup and with Australia’s ageing team creaking toward Brazil, tonight’s friendly against Romania presents the perfect opportunity to see who might be ready to step up into the first team.
On the back of an increasingly fruitful Bundesliga campaign with Fortuna Dusseldorf, Robbie Kruse is set to earn a start and looks the most likely of the next generation to become a key player in Holger Osieck’s plan.
After a serious injury threatened to derail his season Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams makes his first start in Socceroos colours since August, and will also be named by Osieck to start.
But the conservative Osieck hasn’t strayed too far from the known with the old guard of Neill, Schwarzer, Bresciano and Wilkshire there to guide the ship.
Romania sit third in a tricky Group D of the European section of 2014 World Cup Qualification alongside The Netherlands, Hungary and Turkey.
A 1-0 over Turkey in Istanbul pushed the Romanians into equal second alongside Hungary, and they’ll also view this morning’s fixture as a chance to prepare for more important matches down the road.
That said, a second-string Romania were hammered 4-1 by Poland in Malaga on Saturday and while Victor Piturca will name a significantly stronger outfit here they’ll still be without Adrian Mutu and Ciprian Marica.
With only three qualification matches left, the Socceroos have well and truly reached the endgame of their 2014 World Cup Qualification campaign.
Put simply, each and every match becomes a crucial opportunity for the side to build form, and this morning is no different. The Socceroos should get a victory on Spanish soil tonight.