Preview: Australia v South Africa

Ange Postecoglou's team will hope to depart for next month's tournament on a high but some fringe players are likely to be given an opportunity against Bafana Bafana.


Ange Postecoglou will reduce his 30-man provisional squad to a travelling party of 27 on Tuesday, although the run-out against Bafana Bafana is unlikely to be decisive in determining who makes the cut.

According to the head coach some players, potentially the Newcastle Jets duo of defender Josh Brillante and striker Adam Taggart, have been included in the pre-tournament group only to give them a taste of an elite training camp and to provide them with an idea of what it will take to feature in Postecoglou's plans in the future.

Injury is another factor likely to determine who boards the long flight to South America, with Adam Sarota having arrived in camp still short of full fitness and Curtis Good yet to progress beyond running and light duties with a ball in his recovery from a hip flexor injury.

Massimo Luongo and uncapped pair Bailey Wright and Ben Halloran will surely receive some playing time against South Africa to give the Socceroos' coaching staff a better idea of what they are capable of.

But despite his protestations to the contrary, the starting XI for Monday's game could be close to Postecoglou's preferred line-up for the World Cup, although James Holland is likely to start in midfield for injured skipper Mile Jedinak, who is close to returning from a groin problem.

In Jedinak's absence Tim Cahill will captain the team and lead the line with Tommy Oar and Mathew Leckie to the left and right of him respectively.

Mark Milligan and Mark Bresciano joined Holland in midfield for what appeared to be the first-choice starting XI in a training game on Saturday.

Mat Ryan played in goal behind a defence of Ivan Franjic, Ryan McGowan, Matthew Spiranovic and Jason Davidson.

South Africa will field a team missing their most recognisable players due to a spate of injuries and withdrawals, with Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace), Siyanda Xulu (Rostov), Andile Jali (Oostende), Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bernard Parker, Tsepo Masilela and Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs) all absent.

Bafana coach Gordon Igesund insisted the team he has selected are more than capable of holding their own.

But if the Socceroos' lightning start against Ecuador in March, when they held a 3-0 half-time lead, is anything to go by, Postecoglou may sense an opportunity to orchestrate a convincing, morale-boosting win ahead of Australia's departure for the World Cup.

As many as 50,000 supporters are tipped to attend the event at 'Stadium Australia', presenting the home side with an opportunity to restore some optimism around the national team before daunting assignments against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain.

Send Off the Socceroos

Socceroos vs South Africa, presented by NAB

Monday 26 May 2014
 ANZ Stadium, Sydney 
Kick-off: 7.30pm
Tickets from $30, including public transport. Buy now!

ABC Grandstand will have live coverage of the match from 1900-2135 AEST on ABC Grandstand Digital across Australia, online and via the phone app.

You can also tune in on digital SBS Radio 3 and SBS Radio 4, Digital TV, online at or via the SBS Your Language App.