November is shaping as a big month for the Caltex Socceroos on home soil ahead of their AFC Asian Cup title defence in January.
A blockbuster match against Korea Republic in Brisbane will be followed by a clash against another AFC nation in Lebanon a few days later in Sydney.
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The Lebanon fixture was confirmed on Thursday and will be the first match for the Caltex Socceroos at ANZ Stadium since the memorable FIFA World Cup playoff tie against Honduras 12 months earlier.
While there will be less on the line in this one, it still looms as an important hit-out for coach Graham Arnold and his players.
In what is likely to be the team’s last match before the squad is announced for January’s AFC Asian Cup, it will be one final opportunity for Arnold to get a close-up look at potential starters for that opening group game against Jordan on January 6.
And likewise, it’s a big fixture and opportunity for the players.
What better way for fringe members of the squad to force their way into Arnold’s AFC Asian Cup plans and book their spot on the plane to the UAE than by putting on a good show against Lebanon.
The Caltex Socceroos will be hot favourites and be expected to dominate against the Lebanese, which is why this friendly clash could have added relevance heading into the AFC Asian Cup.
Lebanon, managed by Montenegrin Miodrag Radulovic, are likely to employ pragmatic tactics for their first match on Australian soil.
They are likely to defend deep, try to limit the space in their defensive half and be tough to break down, before looking to hit the Caltex Socceroos on the break.
It’s a style many nations have employed against Australia since their move to Asia.
So it will give Arnold's men another opportunity to practice their game-plan to combat those tactics ahead of the AFC Asian Cup, where the Caltex Socceroos come up against Jordan, Palestine and Syria.
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