Luke Wilkshire has lauded the Qantas Socceroos’ preparations for next weeks crunch FIFA World Cup qualifier away to Jordan.
Luke Wilkshire has lauded the Qantas Socceroos- preparations for next weeks crunch FIFA World Cup qualifier away to Jordan.
The Qantas Socceroos are well aware of what is at stake in Amman next week and have focused their energies accordingly throughout their four days in the Middle East so far.
The most fitting update of Australia-s acclimitisation to conditions in the Gulf will come early Friday morning Australian time, when the Qantas Socceroos take on Lebanon at the Saida Municipal Stadium - a fixture, and a test, of significant importance to Wilkshire and his team-mates.
“It-s going to be different, we haven-t played against them (Lebanon) before, so it-s going to be an interesting game,” Wilkshire said.
“It-s a great lead up to the important one next week against Jordan.
“The weather conditions, if we look at the playing conditions of the field will be similar in Jordan, so it-s perfect preparation for us.”
Having barely drawn breath since the conclusion of the 44-game Russian Premier League season last May, Wilkshire started his fifth campaign with Dinamo Moscow in late July.
To date, it-s been a sorry tale for the one-time League Champions, who after seven rounds are stuck at the bottom of Russia-s 16-team top-tier having recorded just the one win from seven matches.
Dinamo also failed to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League after falling to German powerhouse Stuttgart 3-1 on aggregate at the final qualification stage.
At international level it-s been a different story for Wilkshire, who has matured into one of Australia-s cornerstone contributors.
With seventy caps to boast alongside seven goals - perhaps the most crucial of which from the penalty spot against Japan in Brisbane last June - Wilkshire is within touching distance of a third FIFA World Cup.
“We-ve had two draws (in FIFA World Cup qualification), it hasn-t been the perfect start but it hasn-t been the worst as well, when you look at the games and the conditions,” Wilkshire said.
“On the road it-s always a bonus when you can win a game, it-s something that we-re definitely looking to do, it-s going to be a big game for us.”
The Qantas Socceroos face Lebanon in an international friendly at Saida Municipal Stadium, Saida, at 8.45pm local time (3.45am AEST, Friday, 7 September) *Note changed time.
Following that, the Qantas Socceroos resume their FIFA World Cup qualification campaign against Jordan in Amman, at 7pm on Tuesday, 11 September (2am AEST, Wednesday, 12 September).
The Qantas Socceroos return to Australia in 2013, for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman at Sydney-s Stadium Australia at 7.30pm, Tuesday, 26 March, followed by Iraq, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 18 June.
Tickets for both matches at Stadium Australia are on sale now through Ticketek or via phone, 132 849.