Significant opportunity for players says Moore

The Qantas Socceroos opening 2011 Asian Cup qualifying game against Indonesia later tonight, presents a significant opportunity for many players to stake a claim with the national team.

The Qantas Socceroos opening 2011 Asian Cup qualifying game presents a significant opportunity for many players to stake a claim with the national team.

That-s the opinion of captain Craig Moore, who is the most experienced player that will take the park for Australia.

When he leads them out, he is likely to have 5-6 debutants running out with him, in front of a capacity crowd of somewhere between 90-100,000 people at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

It will also be a testament to his leadership skills, if he can pull this team together and forge a result that will be against all odds, given the very limited preparation the team has had for the game.

Moore last captained his country in the final match before the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, when Australia beat Liechtenstein 3-1 in Ulm. Mark Viduka took over for the first game against Japan in Kaiserslautern.

“It-s nice; it-s always a fantastic honour to captain your country,” he said from Jakarta. “Personally it-s always a special occasion.”

While personal milestones are nice for Moore, he knows the opportunity that this game represents for the players in this squad is immense and finally give the Hyundai A-League the chance to show they are capable at this level.

“With this being a domestically-based squad from the A-League, it-s a huge opportunity for a lot of players to really stake a claim and leave a good impression on Pim.

“I-ve been fortunate now that I-ve been back in Australia, playing against a lot of these lads week in, week out, so it-s a nice one (to lead) and a big opportunity.”

“It-s a huge boost for everybody back in Australia now. Adelaide with the Asian Champions League had a huge impact by getting to the final, so it-s definitely something we are all looking forward to.

“It-s a huge opportunity for everyone that-s doing well in Australia and its just great that they are finally getting that recognition from the national coach as well.”

While admitting he knows little about the Indonesians, he has no doubt that these lads will be ready for the challenge come kick-off (11.30pm AEDT) and that the conditions shouldn-t be too much of a factor, given he experiences similar in Brisbane.

“To be honest, I don-t know much about Indonesia, although by kick-off time we-ll know enough after settling in and going through videos. “We-ll know the dangers and will not be guessing when we go into the game; we-ll know all we need to know and hopefully we go about our business and we get a winning result, because that-s what we are here for.

“I feel good and conditions wise, it-s very similar to what I-ve been experiencing in the last week to 10 days in Brisbane.

“It was nice to get a little hit out and get the legs moving today (Tuesday) and I pulled up okay after the weekend-s game with Queensland Roar as well.”

Coach Pim Verbeek has no doubts the team will be raring to go and will be keen to prove a point and impress.

“I am counting on players wanting to impress and force their way into the squad for the World Cup matches. For all the players here it-s a great motivation to play in the Asian Cup.

“This will be hot and humid and there will be hostile fans. It-s true what people say, that there are no easy games. They will fight hard all the way.”