Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi says all sides who come to Oman will be punished throughout the World Cup Qualifiers
Wigan Athletic star Ali Al Habsi has warned every side that travels to Oman this FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign will get ‘punished-.
The Omani goalkeeper - the only European based player in Oman-s squad - went to great lengths to underline Oman-s self-appointed underdog tag ahead of tomorrow-s clash at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
“When you see Oman-s players and the league here, most of the teams are not professional, some of the players are still students,” said Al Habsi.
“To get to this level, I think the country, the fans, have to be very proud.
“We have to push ourselves of course, we have to give everything, especially at home because I think, for ourselves, the four games we-re going to play at home, I think they will be the key.
“Australia and Japan, there is a really big difference between us, but that doesn-t mean that we don-t fight - we will fight, we-ll give everything and we hope to get some good points.
“Every team that will come to Oman will get punished here.”
Paul Le Guen, Oman-s French coach, also paid tribute to the strength of the Qantas Socceroos and went to equally great lengths to insist the hosts will go into tomorrow-s tie with nothing to lose.
Oman haven-t lost a match at home match since November 2010, but have been defeated by Australia in Muscat on one occasion previously.
On that instance, strikes from Luke Wilkshire and Brett Emerton made sure of a come from behind 2-1 triumph in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier.
Oman will be missing UAE-based playmaker Fawzi Bashir through suspension, in addition to a host of key players through injury - leaving Le Guen will a youthful, largely home-based squad to choose from.
“My tactic doesn-t change,” said Le Guen.
“It-s a big blow in such a country when many players are missing, it-s a big blow, but we have to cope with that.
“We rely on the squad and it-s the right moment for some players to take their chance and to prove that they are able to play at such a level.”
The Qantas Socceroos begin their final phase of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a clash against Oman in Muscat on Friday, 8 June. Kick off is at 5pm local time. (Kick off is at 11pm AEST).
Soon after, the Qantas Socceroos will host Japan in their first home fixture of the fourth stage of Asia-s FIFA World Cup qualification process on Tuesday, 12 June at Brisbane-s Suncorp Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm.