Countdown to 2010 FIFA World Cup

FFA is pulling out all stops to make sure the Socceroos arrive in top form.

Australia starts its 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification journey, courtesy of Foxtel, next Wednesday against Qatar in Melbourne and, with the help of Qantas, Football Federation Australia (FFA) is pulling out all stops to make sure the Socceroos arrive in top form.

With most of the overseas-based players having games on the weekend throughout Europe, the Head of Medical Services of FFA, Dr Jeff Steinweg, jets out to London tonight with Qantas to meet and monitor all returning players as they depart their Qantas flight home.

Steinweg will check all players departing the UK on Saturday evening (London time) at Heathrow and provide them with individual plans to monitor any niggling concerns from the weekend-s games, deal with jet lag and undertake some exercises on the 24 hour long haul flight.

Players anticipated to be on the flight arriving into Melbourne in the morning of 4 February are Lucas Neill (West Ham), David Carney (Sheffield United) and Nick Carle (Bristol City).

The following day Steinweg will accompany the remaining players home including World Cup heroes, Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers) and Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), who are due to touch down in the evening of 4 February.

Socceroos goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, will be the last to arrive into camp on Tuesday morning.

An FFA spokesperson said that Qantas has, once again, been of enormous assistance to the Socceroos.

“Qantas has delivered big time in doing everything it can to help Australia on the beginning of our long journey to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“They-ve provided travel in first class to give them optimal conditions for comfort and recovery on the trip home.”

Caring for the Socceroos doesn-t end there.

On the return to Europe and the UK on Thursday, head physiotherapist, Phil Coles, will accompany the players.

“We want to ensure the players are delivered in the best condition possible back to their clubs, as we believe this is a positive way to contribute to continuing good relationships with the clubs.

“The pull of the green and gold heart of our Socceroos is strong and enduring - and they want to be here for this all-important World Cup qualifier as much as all Australian fans want them here,” the spokesperson said.

Australia kicks-off its World Cup campaign on Wednesday 6 February at Melbourne-s Telstra Dome, with the match commencing at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

Foxtel is the presenting partner of Australia-s World Cup journey.