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Socceroos to play Norway in March

By Ben McKay, Ben McKay is a Roar Guru

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    Australia’s first opponent of its World Cup year has been confirmed, with an away friendly against Norway locked in for March.

    The Socceroos will face the world No.59 at Oslo’s Ullevaal Stadion on March 23 (March 24 AEDT).

    The Norwegians won’t feature in Russia, but will give the Socceroos practise against a Scandinavian opponent given they’ve drawn Denmark at the June tournament.

    Australia also faces top seed France and Peru in a challenging group stage.

    FFA chief executive David Gallop said Norway would be a formidable foe, given their strong home record.

    “For the March window we identified the need to play friendlies in Europe where the bulk of our players are based to minimise the travel demand on the players selected, as well as their clubs,” Gallop said.

    “Throughout the qualification process our players had a heavy travel and match schedule, so playing in Europe will lighten their loads leading up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

    The match will be one of up to five friendlies to feature Australia leading up to the World Cup.

    A second match will be teed up in Europe for the March international window – reportedly against Colombia.

    A fixture against a South American side has been targeted by FFA executives given last month’s draw pitted Peru against the Socceroos in a potentially decisive game.

    A send-off match in late May is being planned for either Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, before another two friendlies in Europe – one prior to arriving in Russia and then one after landing in the host country.

    The Norweigans, coached by Swede Lars Lagerback for the past year, finished fourth in their World Cup qualifying group, behind Germany, Northern Ireland and Czech Republic.

    While one piece of the jigsaw has been locked in, the Socceroos are still without a coach for the tournament following Ange Postecoglou’s walkout in November.

    The Melburnian will take the helm of J.League club Yokohama F. Marinos this month.

    Three ex-Socceroos – Mark Bresciano, Stan Lazaridis and Mark Schwarzer – have been drafted into a committee to find the new coach led by consultants SRi Executive and FFA national teams boss Luke Casserly.

    It will recommend the appointment of a new coach before mid-February.

    THE SOCCEROOS’ WORLD CUP PREPARATION

    March 23 – International friendly v Norway

    March 27 – Second Europe-based friendly

    Late May – Sendoff match on home soil

    Early June – Possible friendlies in Europe and in Australia’s base city of Kazan

    World Cup

    June 16 – Group stage match v France, Kazan

    June 21 – Group stage match v Denmark, Samara

    June 26 – Group stage match v Peru, Sochi.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • January 4th 2018 @ 7:16am
      Jack said | January 4th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Great opponent ahead of WC FFA.
      This match will be very good our skill should be similar to the Norwegians,
      Would be nice if we can win for confidence

    • January 4th 2018 @ 9:15am
      Kangajets said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      Hoping for a friendly just before the World Cup probably in Europe agdinst a South America team also . Possibly Uruguay.

    • January 4th 2018 @ 12:00pm
      bobbym said | January 4th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Won’t be 3 at three back that’s for sure.

      • January 4th 2018 @ 12:11pm
        Kris said | January 4th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        It will be 3 at the back because Australia does not have 2 fullbacks worth picking, we barely have fullbacks worthy of the name in the A-League. Ange’s move to 3 at the back was driven by necessity not desire.

        • January 4th 2018 @ 1:01pm
          Fadida said | January 4th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          We have less wing backs than fullbacks.

          It wasn’t driven by necessity at all

          • January 4th 2018 @ 6:30pm
            Kangajets said | January 4th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

            Take Jason Hoffman

            He is versatile and can play wing back full back and striker

        • January 7th 2018 @ 12:25pm
          bobbym said | January 7th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

          lol

    • January 4th 2018 @ 12:55pm
      Midfielder said | January 4th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

      Interesting we pick a team thats plays similar to Denmark …. very astute choice, now to find a team that plays like France or Peru ….. very clever someone has put some analysis behind this…

    • January 4th 2018 @ 1:42pm
      Nemesis said | January 4th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

      When are keyboard coaching fans officially allowed to start complaining about the National Team coach’s tactical naïveté?

      • January 4th 2018 @ 4:40pm
        steve said | January 4th 2018 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

        Whenever we feel like it TBH.

    • January 4th 2018 @ 2:40pm
      Cool N Cold said | January 4th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      When will they decide on the coach selection?

      • Roar Rookie

        January 4th 2018 @ 4:30pm
        Grobbelaar said | January 4th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

        I believe we have every right to start our complaints prior to that.

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