Preview: Norway v Caltex Socceroos
Australia’s first game of 2018 takes place in chilly Oslo as Bert van Marwijk’s reign in charge of the Caltex Socceroos begins on Saturday morning (4am AEDT on Fox Sports 503) against the Norwegians.
With fans and media keen to see how the Australians play under their new coach, there is much interest in this friendly as preparations for June’s World Cup begin in the Norwegian capital.
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- On the back of eye-catching seasons with Newcastle Jets, strikers Dimi Petratos and Andrew Nabbout have been included in the squad for the first time.
- Another new face is defender Alexandar Susnjar. He caught the eye with the national U23 side in January and he could potentially make his debut in the centre of defence.
- Recalled into the squad are keeper Brad Jones after a brilliant couple of seasons in Holland, Millwall left-back James Meredith and Sydney FC midfielder Josh Brillante.
- After this game against Norway, Australia head to London to face Colombia in another friendly.
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After four years under Ange Postecoglou, it’ll be fascinating to see how Australia plays with a new coach in the dugout.
Van Marwijk only has a few days with the squad so don’t expect huge changes. However, perhaps the biggest area of change could be in the formation with forward Mathew Leckie hinting at a 4-2-3-1 during the week.
Tactics and approach aside, this is a timely opportunity for new and returning faces to impress with the World Cup just months away.
Van Marwijk will look to put his stamp on the squad before the main pre-World Cup preparation kicks off in May and June.
As for Norway, failure to qualify for the World Cup means new faces – such as Real Madrid’s on-loan 19-year-old Martin Odegaard - could debut.
It’s tipped to be around four degrees around kick off time (6pm local) at the 28,000-capacity Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo.
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