Australia Takes on Samba KingsSocceroos set to face Brazil at the location of next year's World Cup
by Perry Tsangas | Friday, September 06, 2013
Football Federation of Australia will provide manager Holger Osieck’s Socceroos 1st-hand experience of what they will confront at next year’s World Cup in Brasil.
Australia takes on the 5-time World Cup champions Brasil at the Mane Garrincha Stadium, appropriately named after one of Brasil’s greatest ever footballers, Garrincha.
Osieck has selected a 22-man squad that has a combination of youth and experience.
The surprise selection is Central Coast Mariners striker Mitchell Duke, who recently impressed in the East Asia Cup with his scoring blitz, as later Osieck publicly stating the player’s potential as a regular squad member.
The ankle injury of New York Red Bulls player Tim Cahill is a loss to the attacking third of the field. While one door closes another may open with Duke eager for some minutes in Brasilia.
Surprisingly, there is still no Matthew Leckie, who continues to impress in Bundesliga 2 for FSV Frankfurt. Leckie’s speed and eye for goal would provide Australia with the unpredictability that opposition defenses would fear. Cahill’s omission should have warranted a replacement call-up for the in-form Leckie.
Brazil's manager Luis Felipe Scolari will be eager for the Selecao to bounce back in front of their home fans after suffering a 1-0 away defeat to Switzerland. With injuries to the likes of strikers Fred and Hulk, Scolari may rely on the services of Andrea Pato who may get an opportunity to prove that he deserves a regular berth. With Barcelona wonderkid Neymar providing attacking forays, the fixture has the potential to become a bloodbath for the visitors.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Australia, as the very attacking rightback Danny Alves has also ruled himself out, leaving Scolari with the prospect of playing veteran Maicon. Even though Scolari may field more of an experimental lineup in preparation for the Portugal game, it will still prove a stern test for an Australian squad that is still finding its place amongst the world’s best.
Australia can’t afford to go to next year’s World Cup with an ageing defense. The inclusion of Middlesborough captain Rhys Williams is a worthy selection; hopefully the 25-year-old has an injury-free season and can establish himself in the World Cup squad. Williams provides the versatility across the backline and can slot into the center of defense.
The much anticipated debut by Mitchell Langerak in goal will please many downunder. Osieck has signaled his intention of even starting Borussia Dortmund’s No. 2 goalkeeper. What greater way to show his qualities than by performing honorably against the Samba Kings. With Matthew Ryan playing regularly for Club Brugge and Mark Shwartzer playing 2nd fiddle to goalkeeper Peter Cech at Chelsea, suddenly the No. 1 goalkeeper position is for the taking.
With matches lined up against France and Canada in the coming months, the FFA will provide an ever-changing national team the best preparation possible. Every position is up for grabs and there should be no guarantees as the Socceroos embark on yet another wonderful World Cup journey. Regular playing time and notable performances in the A-League and abroad will be firmly scrutinized by all. Brasil on Sunday is just another step the Socceroos must take on their journey to glory.
NEXT UP: September 8 – Australia vs. Brazil, Mane Garrincha Stadium, Brasilia, Brazil. 1 p.m. EST, Fox Sports 3.