Socceroos' five-star rivalry with Kuwait

Japan are Australia's nemesis from the 2011 AFC Asian Cup final and there's still a score to be settled with Iran dating back to 1997, but a rivalry of a different kind is brewing between the Socceroos and Kuwait ahead of their showdown on Friday.

Clearly there has been no expense spared by Football Federation Australia and the Kuwait Football Association in the lead up to this week's eagerly-anticipated tournament opener at AAMI Park, with both teams staying at the same luxury hotel in Melbourne's central business district.
On Monday they avoided coming face to face en masse by a matter of minutes as the squads were officially welcomed with two separate indigenous ceremonies.

As tension mounts leading up to game-day, there could be a few meaningful glances exchanged in corridors and at reception, with Ingolstadt's Mathew Leckie in particular proving unable to shake off the Socceroos' Middle Eastern opponents. 

"I actually flew in on the 24th and I flew on the same plane as them," he said.

"Look, it's ok, we're all professionals, they're professionals as well. We'll respect them, go by them saying hello and everything like that. What happens off the pitch and what's on the pitch is two different things."

Asked whether or not they stop and talk football when they encounter each other, Leckie was quick to make it clear Ange Postecoglou's side haven't been fraternising with the enemy.    

"It's just a friendly hello, we don't get into D&Ms or anything like that," he said.

"Just stay respectful and be friendly."

Leckie's fellow forward Tommy Oar meanwhile envisaged a new problem cropping up after Friday night's game, when one team's tournament hopes could be dealt a major blow.

"We don't really have too much to do with each other, fingers crossed after the game it's all ok as well," he said with a smile.

Ensuring it's the Socceroos who will be holding their heads high at breakfast on Saturday morning is the focus for the coming days, with Oar predicting some intensive tactical work. 

"We haven't really had the chance to see too much of Kuwait so far but this week we're going to analyse them very thoroughly and we're going to know fully what we can expect in that first game."

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