Colosimo Gets A Starting Berth For Socceroos

Frank Farina has announced his starting eleven to take on Venezuela tomorrow morning (AEST), with Parramatta Power midfielder Simon Colosimo the only one of the three Australian-based players in the team.

Frank Farina has announced his starting eleven to take on Venezuela tomorrow morning (AEST), with Parramatta Power midfielder Simon Colosimo (pictured right) the only one of the three Australian-based players in the team.   Farina-s squad is in a way the reverse of the team that last took on Jamaica in the last international at Reading last September. On that occasion, Farina was faced with a much-depleted back line but with many options up front.   For this match however, Farina has selected a virtual full strength back line to complement an experimental attacking sector.   Starting Lineup: Mark Schwarzer (GK), Lucas Neill, Craig Moore, Tony Popovic, Kevin Muscat, Mile Sterjovski, Marco Bresciano, Simon Colosimo, Stan Lazaridis, David Zdrilic, Paul Agostino  ASA also confirmed that Scott Chipperfield was not in Caracas after one of his connecting flights was delayed, and as a result he missed his flight to Venezuela.   Custodian Mark Schwarzer, English based full backs Lucas Neill and Kevin Muscat and Parma midfielder Marco Bresciano are the only survivors from the starting side that defeated Jamaica with Farina recalling a handful of players from the international wilderness.  Farina had all but ruled out Vince Grella-s chances after the Empoli star struggled through training today.  “At this stage he is struggling to be fit. He didn-t finish training at all this evening,” Farina said.  “It-s a blow, but it opens up a door for another player to stake their claim for a starting spot.”  Parramatta Power midfielder Simon Colosimo is the beneficiary of Grella-s injury and will assume control of the holding midfielders role previously played by Paul Okon.  “He-s certainly ready for the occasion, and I have every confidence in him as a player” said Farina.  “It-s a big stage for him, so hopefully things will go well for him.”  Paul Agostino returns to the Socceroo fold, oddly enough on the same continent his last match in the green and gold was played.   He will be partnered up front by Aberdeen striker David Zdrilic, who last fronted for Australia in August 2001 when a makeshift Socceroos side lost 3-0 to Japan in Yokohama.  “I was speaking to Graham Arnold last night and I said that he-s in the best shape I-ve seen him for a long time,” said Farina, speaking of 1860 Munich striker Agostino, who has been lacking regular match time in the Bundesliga.  “When he-s played for us before he-s never let us down and he-s scored some pretty important goals.”  In Brett Emerton-s absence, Mile Sterjovski earns his first start for the Socceroos following a host of appearances off the bench.  In what is the senior team-s first hit out of 2004, Farina has instilled the psyche in his charges that this match is the first leg of a World Cup qualifier.  Farina dismissed accusations that this side, minus all the big names, was a substandard side.   “In terms of the players here, we have a very good group of players, a very talented group and look we-ll certainly be competitive. I-m not disappointed in terms of what team will be going on the park.”  With Venezuela currently ranked fifth after the first four rounds of the COMNEBOL World Cup qualifiers, there is plenty of optimism amongst the home media and fans that they can finally crack it for a place at the World Cup.   “They had a very big press conference today and they are very confident they can actually come fifth or if not higher.   “There intentions at the moment are that they will be definitely going to the World Cup or in the play-off. They are very serious about it.”   Farina has no doubts the emphasis will be on Venezuela to make the running in the game otherwise.   “I don-t think any team at home can afford to sit back at home and wait. If they do that the crowd will quickly get on their backs and they are expecting a big crowd tomorrow night.   “I-m expecting them to come out, not all guns blazing, but I-m sure they will be coming out and trying to play.”  “They are going to have to bring the game to us and have to break us down, and we will hoping that once we are in possession we can counter quickly.”  As such, a draw, says Farina is an acceptable result.  “We are treating it like an first leg away game, so if we could get a draw, it would be fantastic.”   Meanwhile first choice goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is looking forward to the challenge of what he expects will a tough match.   “When you play teams away from home, you are always going to be busy, but we have a good defence and I-m sure we can handle what is thrown at us.”  The Middlesbrough keeper, who helped his team to a victory over Manchester United last week at Old Trafford, had no hesitation in putting his hand up for the game despite the problems with distance.   “It-s not the ideal situation, but it-s just part and parcel of it and like Frank said before, these are the games you really need.”  “We need to play against opposition from South America and we need to come away to South America to play these teams, because that is what we are going to come up against and there is no better preparation than to play these games.  “So it something you have got to deal with and besides the time difference from Europe to here is not major - it-s only four hours I think - so we have all adapted very well and we are all professionals and that is part parcel of it (being a professional footballer).”