Farina Rings Through The Changes For Tahiti Clash

Socceroos coach Frank Farina has rung the changes with five players getting a call up for the clash against the highest ranked island nation Tahiti.

Socceroos coach Frank Farina has rung the changes with five players getting a call up for the clash against the highest ranked island nation Tahiti.

Making their first start in Qantas Socceroo colours will be Partick Thistle defender Adrian Madaschi and Millwall-s Tim Cahill (pictured right).

FC Basel attacker Scott Chipperfield and former Aberdeen striker David Zdrilic have been recalled to Farina-s starting eleven, while Perth Glory defender Jade North earns his first start since the 2002 OFC Nations Cup final in Auckland.

Steve Laybutt, Simon Colosimo, Brett Emerton, Mark Bresciano and Max Vieri are the players to make way.

In other squad news, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has not recovered in time from his hip injury and Laybutt suffered a foot injury in last night-s match against New Zealand, forcing both out of the remainder of the tournament.

Socceroos Starting Line-up v Tahiti: Zeljko Kalac (gk), Jade North, Tony Vidmar, Adrian Madaschi, Stan Lazaridis, Tim Cahill, Vince Grella, Josip Skoko, Scott Chipperfield, John Aloisi, David Zdrilic

Farina was particularly looking forward to the appearance of Cahill, who will be making his first start for his home country on home soil.

“One of Tim-s strengths and where he picks up a lot of goals for Millwall is coming in deep at the back, so we-ll be looking at him to do that,” spoke Farina of the FA Cup finalist.

“He-s definitely got the ability and he-s got the engine to do it and he-s another one, I think, anywhere across the midfield he-d do a good job.”

Zdrilic-s introduction to the Qantas Socceroo frontline means the out of contract striker will be reunited with Osasuna-s John Aloisi for the first time in nearly three years.

“Last time they played together was when we beat New Zealand 4-1 in a World Cup qualifier and they got a brace apiece I think,” said Farina.

“With so many games we-ve got to try and balance and juggle to keep everyone fresh and sharp and that-s part of the reason David-s come in.”

In all of Australia-s encounters with island nations, Tahiti-s record is second only to Fiji (the only island nation to beat the Socceroos).

The Tahitians have twice achieved the feat of netting a goal against Australia and aside from a series of blown out scores in the mid nineties, have always left an arena after a date with Oceania-s superpower with their credibility intact.

The most famous encounter being as recent as two years ago, where Tahiti came within a breath of causing the most monumental upset in Oceania-s short history.

A last gasp goal from Qantas Socceroo veteran Mehmet Durakovic spared the Australians blushes on that day (Australia won in extra time) and Gerard Kautai-s current crop will be looking for a repeat of that stellar performance tomorrow night.

After a colossal scare in Auckland in July 2002, Farina knows all to well the perils of expecting an easy victory against Polynesians.

“That-s what they said two years ago!” said Farina when asked if his side would win comfortably.

“In the game, anything-s possible, they played with one man upfront yesterday, pretty isolated. I expect that they-ll be well organized at the back.

“It-s mental for us, we-ve got to make sure we go out prepared to play and execute the playing we-ve been putting in place in terms of pressing.

“If we don-t do that, we-re going to have problems.”

The Tahitians looked sharp in their opening stalemate with Fiji and showed enough balance around the park to potentially pose a few problems for Frank Farina-s men.

Particularly impressive was goalkeeper Daniel Tapeta, who was largely responsible for keeping his side in the game and attackers Billy Mataitai and Felix Tagawa, the latter of which enjoyed a brief stint with NSL outfit Brisbane Strikers in 2002/2003.

Coming into the tournament as distinct underdogs, given their sub-par performances in the stage one qualifiers in Honiara, the Tahitians have made a bright start to their 2004 OFC Nations Cup campaign and will head into tomorrows match bursting with anticipation and eagerness.

Under Kautai, the only locally born coach of any of the island nations, the Tahitians have yet to lose a match in five starts, although it must be said that three of those have been draws.

After scraping past minnows the Cook Islands and Tonga in Honiara, Tahiti grinded out deadlocks with fellow Polynesians New Caledonia and the hosts to book a place in Adelaide.

Another clean sheet against the Fijians last night means that Kautai-s men have conceded just the one goal in his 450 minute tenure, something that the Socceroos will try to eradicate tomorrow.

Tomorrows match will be the ninth between the two countries, with the Socceroos having won all eight up to this point.

Although an upset seems unlikely tomorrow, the Socceroos appreciate, more than most, the danger of the pride of Polynesia and will be determined to put in a positive showing in front of their home fans.