Is there any player to fear against Oman? Absolutely there is and one of them is probably giving Lucas Neill nightmares.
While many would want to believe the Qantas Socceroos will easily account for Oman when they open the final round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in Muscat, the facts are; the national team is coming into the game on the back of a loss to Denmark, and last time out in Muscat, they were humbled 1-0 by the Gulf nation.
As the Socceroos prepare to attempt to atone for that loss in what will likely be tough conditions in Muscat, we take a look at the players to watch for Oman, as they chase their first ever World Cup finals appearance.
Ali Al-Habsi (Goalkeeper)
It-s actually very little surprise that Oman kept a clean sheet at home against the Socceroos, Al Habsi is a genuine star and he managed to keep four clean sheets in the last round of qualifying, and had it not been for two horrific team performances in two 3-0 away losses to Thailand and Australia, the teams- defensive record would have been a lot better than the six goals conceded.
At a club level he has earned a cult following for his efforts at Bolton Wanderers and then Wigan and is a major reason why Wigan extended their stay in the EPL in what was by and large a poor season from the Latics.
A gifted shot-stopper and brilliant saver of penalties, at 30 he is still coming into his own within the world game and according to the EPL-s official rankings system is a marginally better goalkeeper than Australia-s own Mark Schwarzer.
Amad Al Hosni (Striker)
The Al Ahli striker has not only been prominent in the AFC Champions League this season, but also throughout Oman-s qualification campaign.
He was the man who caught the Socceroos- defenders napping in Muscat and one would think he would dearly like to cause lightning to strike twice, or thrice in the case of Australia captain Lucas Neill.
Not only has Neill had to see him score against Australia, but Al Hosni was a major influence for Al Ahli when they knocked Neill-s Al Jazira out of the AFC Champions League, netting a vital goal soon after coming off the substitute bench.
Throughout this World Cup campaign from round two onwards he has netted three of Oman-s six goals and scored a phenomenal 38 goals from 78 appearances for the national side. He is the man the Socceroos must be wary of as a big goal-scoring threat.
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