Skoko ready to take opportunity

Qantas Socceroo midfielder Josip Skoko believes he has done all he can to win himself the nod for one of the midfield spots in Australia’s opening game of the FIFA 2006 World Cup™ finals on Monday against Japan.

Qantas Socceroo midfielder Josip Skoko believes he has done all he can to win himself the nod for one of the midfield spots in Australia-s opening game of the FIFA 2006 World Cup™ finals on Monday against Japan.

Two weeks ago, the newspapers in Australia were lauding the stunning strike and the man-of-the-match performance by Skoko that saw Australia beat European Champions Greece 1-0 in Melbourne.

However, Skoko though was quickly brought back to earth by coach Guus Hiddink and was made to play in the match against Dutch amateur side VV Kloetinge, a match which effectively was for those considered "outsiders". He subsequently was not picked for the match against the Dutch last Sunday.

With Hiddink most likely settled on most of the spots already for the match against Japan, one of the most contentious spots is in the midfield and the Wigan Athletic player believes he is firmly in the mix.

Hiddink will have a full complement of players to choose from, with Skoko, vying with Tim Cahill, Mile Sterjovski and Luke Wilkshire for what appears to be one or possibly two positions in the middle of the park, depending on which formation Hiddink wants to play.

"I think I have given my everything and he has seen what I am capable of," said Skoko.

"If he thinks I am the man for the job well great.

"I said before that I wanted to be as fit as I can make myself and be available for the good of the team. I think I have done that."

Asked if he felt let down by not playing against the Dutch, Skoko reiterated he wasn-t concerned and that he has been happy with his form.

"No, not really, we change around a lot of the time, whether it-s in training or coming into games, he offered.

"I have played three out of the four games and I am fairly happy with what I have shown."

Skoko played in the 3-1 win over Liechtenstein, a team performance that Hiddink labelled as disappointing.

"He (Hiddink) has to be critical you know," agreed Skoko.

"Those games are pretty tough ones; it was a slick field to get our passing right and they sat back which is always tough.

"It was important for us to get a good game in and we have to work on some things like making less, errors. I-m sure in these bigger games against better quality opposition, we will have better concentration."

"I think it wasn-t the best performance overall, but it was a good win, coming into the first game (against Japan). There were a lot of positives, but the negatives we-ll look at and try to fix up."

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