Farina Confident Schwarzer Will Be Fit
Socceroo coach Frank Farina believes Mark Schwarzer will be fit for the Saturday’s game against New Zealand, although they are monitoring his bruised hip closely and will not take any chances.
Socceroo coach Frank Farina believes Mark Schwarzer (pictured right) will be fit for the Saturday-s game against New Zealand, although they are monitoring his bruised hip closely and will not take any chances. Farina already without five first team regulars and several more squad players, is confident his captain will be okay for the Oceania Nations Cup/World Cup qualifiers that start in Adelaide on Saturday that will see Australia play five games in nine days. “Its improving everyday,” said Farina from the Gold Coast, where the squad is enjoying several days of relaxation to refresh before going back into camp on Thursday in Adelaide. “We-ve just to got to monitor it and wait and see how he comes up prior to the game on Saturday.
Asked whether he has got another on standby, Farina-s said, “Not at this stage,” which basically underlines his confidence in Schwarzer recovering from the knock suffered in the first match against Turkey. Schwarzer though is not the only injury concern for Farina, with Paul Agostino, one of three (John Aloisi and Tim Cahill are the other two) new players drafted into the squad, missing 1860 Munich-s last club game on the weekend with a hamstring injury. “With Agostino there is a bit of a question over him just at the moment in terms of an injury, but we-ll assess him once he is in camp. He has a problem with his hamstring and toe, but I don-t think its serious enough to keep him out of any games. The arrival of the three new players will certainly give Australia much greater depth up front. “Obviously it adds to the depth, strength and to our ability to score goals. They give you the extra go forward in terms of scoring goals, as they are all proven goalscorers. Farina though will find it difficult to include any of three in the starting line-up for Saturday night-s game, after Max Vieri and David Zdrilic played so well in Monday night-s second game against Turkey. Vieri, in particular, has made an instant impression and will be keen to press his claims for a regular berth up front. “Very happy,” Farina replied in reference to Vieri-s performances against Turkey. “Look I thought in the first game had an immediate impact in the second half and then in the second game, arguably, he was one of the better players on the park. Asked what he was able to take most from the two games against Turkey, Farina said simply the improvement. “We copped a bit of a caning from certain sections, but it was all about improving and making sure we did lift. The improvement we saw between the first half of that first game and then the second half of the second game, was very, very good. “I think the intensity, the understanding was very pleasing in terms of players on the park, because you know a lot of them have never played together before, so that was most probably the most pleasing factor of all.” Looking ahead to Saturday, Farina will be stressing to his players that New Zealand will be no pushover. “Look they will be, as they always are, very competitive and desperate to cause an upset over Australia. This is their motivation every time they play us and I am expecting a fired up side, who will desperately want to be there.” As for the island nations, Farina also believes they are capable of causing an upset or two. “The island countries are coming into this tournament better prepared than I think they have gone into any tournaments, because they have obviously played in four or five games in the qualifying series. “I not totally aware of what New Zealand-s done, I believe that they haven-t had much preparation whatsoever. The island countries are definitely capable of causing an upset.”
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