Kennedy looms large
Josh Kennedy is set to take centre stage in Australia's high-stakes Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia, his 1.94m stature sure to be a major advantage on Wednesday night.
The towering figure of Qantas Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy is set to take centre stage in Australia's high-stakes Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia, with captain Jason Culina declaring Kennedy's 1.94m stature will be a major advantage at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Culina suggested his side will look to expose the visitors' lack of height by delivering a barrage of crosses for Kennedy from out wide.
"Obviously with his (Kennedy's) height, and the Indonesians being slightly on the smaller side, it will be a big advantage," Culina said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.
"Josh has played there on many occasions, so everybody knows that he can score goals ... but we need to get the ball to him."
"We need to get the ball out wide and play it into the box and let Josh use his strengths."
Kennedy, national coach Pim Verbeek's go-to man after the retirement of Mark Viduka, boasts many facets to his game but against a pint-sized Indonesian defence, his height and vertical leap will be even more potent than normal.
Indonesian veteran Charis Yulianto, the man who will more than likely be minding Kennedy, will be giving away almost 10 centimetres to the 27-year-old giant, while fellow defenders Isnan Ali and Ismed Sofyan are both less than six feet tall and will struggle to compete in the air.
Indonesia coach Benny Dollo admitted his side faces a difficult assignment stopping the man nicknamed Jesus.
"Our players are not tall guys," Dollo said.
"We need to close the flank - we can't let them have a chance to cross it in, or send in any long passes to the head."
Verbeek did not believe the size mismatch would have any real bearing on the match.
"The average Indonesian player is probably not that big, but that's what people think about the Koreans and the Japanese, but if you see them on the field (it's different)," he said.
Kennedy's vertical leap came to the fore the last time he was in Brisbane when he nodded home one of four goals in a comprehensive routing of Qatar.
Australia must claim at least one point from Wednesday night's clash against Indonesia to seal a place in the 2011 Asian Cup and Nagoya Grampus player Kennedy is one of few overseas-based players to have made the trip to Brisbane.
As such, the match will be the last opportunity for a bevy of Hyundai A-League stars to impress Verbeek in a high-pressure situation before the Dutchman selects his 23-man World Cup squad on June 1.
However Verbeek said club form would still be the main deciding factor when looking at players on the periphery of making the trip to South Africa.
"If you can't handle an important game like tomorrow, you can't handle a big game in the World Cup, so that says something, but I'm not going to qualify or disqualify players based on the game tomorrow."
"It's too early ... I've been here for two years, I know these players very well and I don't think you can judge anyone based on one game, I'm going to judge them on the upcoming months."
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