Preview: Australia v Oman

The Socceroos have eked out two wins and a draw in the three encounters between the countries but were pushed on every occasion.

Date: Tuesday, October 11 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEST Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

So what do we make of Australia's 5-0 romp over a poor Malaysian side on Friday night.

Meaningless? Largely.

Better than a training run? Just

A solid tune-up for tricky Oman in a World Cup qualifier? Time will tell.

What the win over starstruck Malaysia did show is that national coach Holger Osieck can chop and change his side and still expect a fluid performance.

Missing were Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill, Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell yet the Socceroos were four goals to the good by half-time.

Those four will be absent against Oman but there is no panic in the Socceroos camp, so strong is their depth.

The visitors will provide stiff opposition but it's hard to see them taking maximum points for the first time against Australia.

The Socceroos sit 87 spots above Oman in the FIFA rankings (19th to 106th) and have won their first two World Cup qualifiers against Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

Against the same opposition, Oman was held to a scoreless draw by the Saudis at home and comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Thailand in Bangkok.

They are anchored to the bottom of Group D and need a minor miracle to qualify for the next stage.

No wonder Oman skipper Fouzi Bashir has declared Tuesday night's game and the return leg on November 11 as critical to their cause.

They may arrive in poor form but the Omanis tend to save something special for Australia.

The Socceroos have eked out two wins and a draw in the three encounters between the countries but were pushed on every occasion.

Brett Holman's return at ANZ Stadium will strengthen the Socceroos, with Alex Brosque likely to make way despite scoring twice against Malaysia.

Neil Kilkenny, who was also very good in Canberra, could be headed for the bench if Osieck decides to ease Mile Jedinak into his starting XI.

A win will secure Australia's passage to the next stage of qualifiers.

Head-to-head Played 3, Australia 2 wins, 1 draw

Previous Meeting Oman 1, Australia 2, Muscat, November 2009

Past five matches: Australia: Australia 5, Malaysia 0, friendly, Canberra, October 2011 Saudi Arabia 1, Australia 3, World Cup qualifier, Dammam, September 2011 Australia 2, Thailand 1, World Cup qualifier, Brisbane, September 2011 Wales 2, Australia 1, friendly, Cardiff, August 2011 Australia 0, Serbia 0, friendly, Melbourne, June 2011

Oman Thailand 3, Oman 0, World Cup qualifier, Bangkok, September 2011 Oman 0, Saudi Arabia 0, World Cup qualifier, Muscat, September 2011 Oman 2, Kuwait 1, friendly, Muscat, August 2011 Oman 1, Bahrain 1, friendly, Muscat, August 2011 Oman 2, Myanmar 0, World Cup qualifier, Muscat, July 2011