Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chance to Impress

Uruguay has sent a full-strength team to play against Australia at Telstra Stadium this Saturday night, in the past we've had problems with attracting international teams to this country, especially ones that will field strong teams. We get a good opportunity, with Uruguay looking to give it's side a strong test before the Copa América and this time it is our side who doesn't feel motivated to put our best team on the park.

Players who will be missing for the Socceroos on Saturday include Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella, Mark Schwarzer, John Aloisi, Scott Chipperfield - read's like a who's who of Australian football. Tim Cahill and John Aloisi are legitamately injured - this was also the reason behind Harry Kewell not playing, although you would think at this stage of his recovery this would be a great opportunity for him to get some more match time under his belt.

Meanwhile most of the other big-guns not taking part are being rested. Granted, many of our players have had long seasons, and with the World Cup last year they have had little rest since 2005 (even then many were involved in the Confederations Cup) - however it wouldn't hurt to spend some time with the squad, and play even a small amount of football against Uruguay.

Although this lack of big-name players has prehaps meant this game is finding it difficult to attract as much media attention as it would have otherwise - I still think it will be a very interesting game to watch, and I think the team that will be out on the park will still be able to compete very strongly. Many players will be looking to put themselves into contention for a place in Australia's Asian Cup squad - but personally I am hoping to see a performance that will leave me optimistic about the future of our national team.

There are players in this squad, that haven't had much of an impact at this level in the past, but need to step up - in order for us to win this game, in order for us to perform well in the Asian cup and in order for us to qualify and do well in South Africa 2010.

A few I will be watching closely: Michael Beauchamp, Patrick Kisnorbo, Brett Holman, Matthew Spiranovic, Carl Valeri as well as Brad Jones between the sticks. I would not be suprised if all of these players are in the squad that eventually goes to South Africa 2010 - and Saturday will be their first chance to play a big international, against a strong side, at home in front of a big crowd.

I was recently very encouraged by the Olyroos, and the way they smashed Iran in Adelaide - a good performance on Saturday night and I'll be pretty confident about the future. Good luck guys!

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