Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Socceroos look to bounce

AFP , LONDON

Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes today's friendly against Nigeria in London offers a perfect chance for the Socceroos to get back on track.

Schwarzer's team have been in limbo since July's disappointing Asian Cup campaign ended with a quarter-final defeat against Japan.

Head coach Graham Arnold stepped down and Rob Baan has taken over as caretaker manager while the Australian Football Federation search for a permanent boss.

That process is finally close to a resolution, with former Netherlands and South Korea coach Dick Advocaat set to be appointed when his contract with Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg expires later this month.

Advocaat could be at Fulham's Craven Cottage this weekend to run the rule over his prospective new players.

But regardless of the Dutchman's presence, Schwarzer insists that painful memories of the Asian Cup should ensure Australia have no shortage of motivation in their first match since September's defeat against Argentina.

"We didn't perform to our potential, our own expectations or everyone else's expectations at the Asian Cup," he said. "It was a major disappointment for us. Since then we've only played a game against Argentina which was a very good performance considering the number of players we had missing."

"This is another stepping stone and we need a good performance because the World Cup qualifiers are just around the corner," he said.

With Tim Cahill, Mark Viduka, Jason Culina, Mark Bresciano, Michael Petkovic and Vincenzo Grella all unavailable, Baan could run the rule over the next generation of Socceroos.

In-form Celtic striker Scott McDonald is likely to start alongside Nurnberg's Josh Kennedy. Baan also named uncapped goalkeepers Nathan Coe and Adam Federici in the squad, while Leicester City's James Wesolowski could make his debut.

McDonald has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games for the Scottish champions, with the highlight a winner against Champions League holders AC Milan.

This story has been viewed 1566 times.
TOP top