Osieck urges Socceroos to step up

Qantas Socceroo head coach Holger Osieck believes Scotland will provide Australia with the test they want and need ahead of their upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Qantas Socceroo head coach Holger Osieck believes Scotland will provide Australia with the test they want and need ahead of their upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Qantas Socceroo boss has had his charges in camp for two days and will use tomorrow-s clash at the Easter Road Stadium to build momentum ahead of crucial qualifiers away to Jordan and Iraq in the coming months.

All 19 players to have arrived at the Scottish capital are fit and available for selection, leaving Osieck with some pleasant selection headaches for the first Australia/Scotland clash in over a decade.

“Of course I have the core group of the team here, but I always take the opportunity to introduce new players to give them the opportunity to integrate themselves into this very competitive environment,” Osieck said.

“I hope they can step up because football never stands still, you can-t just work with 11, 12 players, you always need to look ahead.

“Games like tomorrow of course offer you a double opportunity, first all of the preparation and secondly a kind of assessment of those guys and how far they already can respond to the international level.

“We are in the process of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup and we-re going to have very important games coming up.

“So, it-s a great opportunity for me to get our group together, to work with the boys and to get challenged by a quality opponent.”

The Scots, themselves preparing for a FIFA World Cup qualification tilt, last hosted Australia in November 2000.

Hampden Park in Glasgow was the setting for a 2-0 Australia win - current and former Sydney FC players Brett Emerton and David Zdrilic providing the goals for the visiting Qantas Socceroos.

Prior to the aforementioned meeting, Scotland trumped the Qantas Socceroos 1-0 in 1996, with the only other occasions the two nations have met being a two-legged FIFA World Cup qualification playoff in 1985 that resulted in Scotland progressing to the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

The current Scotland line up features English Premier League stars Charlie Adam (Liverpool), Gary Caldwell (Wigan) and Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), and with not one of their 23 players in camp capped fifty times or more, Scotland are very much a squad in transition.

Regardless, with a FIFA World Ranking of 46 and a recent list of commendable results headed by the defeat of Denmark a year ago, Scotland are sure to provide the Qantas Socceroos with a formidable challenge.

“Me being from Europe, I-m pretty familiar with the European football scene and I know that the Scottish team, they are a decent team,” said Osieck.

“It-s always tough to play them, they are always very committed they always give you a great game on the pitch and that is what I-m looking for.

“I know that they-re really going to challenge us and if you look at the names, they all play at a decent level of football, the Premiership in England, Celtic here and we know from there already that it-s going to be a good game for us.”

The Qantas Socceroos take on Scotland at Edinburgh-s Easter Road Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm local time (Kick off is at 5am AEST, Thursday, 16 August).

Australia-s FIFA World Cup qualification journey resumes on Tuesday, 11 September, when the Qantas Socceroos meet the challenge of Jordan in Amman. Kick off is at 7pm local time (Kick off is at 2am AEST, Wednesday, 12 September).

The Qantas Socceroos are next in Australia in 2013, starting with a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 26 March. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time.

The Qantas Socceroos return to Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 18 June to continue their FIFA World Cup qualification journey against Iraq. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time.

Tickets for each of the aforementioned matches at Stadium Australia are on sale now through Ticketek - click here for details or phone 132 849.