MELBOURNE - Australia are all set for
their qualifying campaign for a third successive appearance at
the World Cup finals with friendlies proving they have found
strength in depth, according to captain Lucas Neill.
Neill shrugged off a groin problem to lead a Socceroos team
shorn of some of best players to a 0-0 draw against Serbia on
Tuesday after sitting out a 3-0 win over neighbours New Zealand
two days earlier.
In the absence of big names like Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell
and Mark Schwarzer, lesser known players like goalkeeper Adam
Federici, left back Michael Zullo and left winger James Troisi
proved they were up to playing international football.
Neill, who like the other players of Australia's golden
generation is now the wrong side of 30, was reassured by the
performance of his younger team mates throughout both matches.
"Not only are we ready, we've got a nice deep 25 to 30
players that you could throw in at any stage and they would be
ready and put on a good performance for Australia," Neill told
reporters after the Serbia match.
"It's going to be tough, and we're probably going to need
all 25 or 30 players. It's good to have them now getting game
time against decent opposition."
Coach Holger Osieck held a training camp in Duisburg before
his team's 2-1 win over Germany in March to give European-based
players a chance to get themselves into the international
The German, who took over last year, said his hunt for fresh
talent would continue.
"We are not at the end of the road," he told reporters.
"We are enlarging our squad. We have definitely already a
couple more players who can really play for the Socceroos and
that is really very positive."
The Socceroos open their campaign to reach a fourth World
Cup finals in Brazil in 2014 in the third round of Asian
qualifying in early September.
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