Eliminating any chance of complacency has been foremost for the Qantas Socceroos all week and Australia are prepared, according to their boss.
Eliminating any chance of complacency has been foremost for the Qantas Socceroos all week and no matter what mental or physical hurdles are conjured by Iraq, Australia are prepared, according to their boss.
With nothing to play for in a sporting sense, Iraq's chances were apparently dealt a major blow when lynchpin's Younis Mahmoud and Nashat Akram withdrew from the squad that has arrived in Sydney, in addition to the suspension of key pair Ali Rehema and Ala'a Abdul-Zahra.
The aforementioned absentees have meant Iraq will be represented by a relatively inexperienced lineup at Stadium Australia, but positively for the visitors, its at youth level where they have been most promising - and dominant over Australia - in recent times.
The Qantas Under 23's recorded back-to-back stalemates with Iraq in their failed attempt to reach the London Olympics, while at Asian tournaments at Under 16 and Under 19 level last year, Australia suffered two defeats to Iraq, albeit the former via penalty shoot out.
Several Iraqi players that contributed to those campaigns will be on show and coach Holger Osieck is wary of their qualities.
"Actually, I think you should never under-rate the new generation," Osieck said.
"We know from the Olympic team as well, that they have a lot of potential and they want to impress.
"They have a new coach, they want to make their mark, they want to get a starting position in their team, so they definitely will give us a tough time."
Such a volume of encounters at youth level between Australia and Iraq in recent years has helped Osieck prepare his charges for the occasion, however.
"I can assure you, we don't take any chance," Osieck said.
"We got our information, we got our video material, and we are prepared, you can believe me."
On Australia's side Osieck again confirmed that all 26 members of his squad are in contention for match day places, while off the field captain Lucas Neill has led the push for tranquility amongst his team mates.
"The atmosphere has been very low key, in a positive way, everybody is very calm," Neill said.
"The manager and the senior players have made sure that nobody is talking about dancing the samba, nobody's in Brazil yet.
"The actual fact is we need one game, one win and then we can start thinking about all the dreams coming true."
Going to the match on Tuesday night? Fans should plan their journey and travel early to ensure they are in their seats before the match gets underway. There will be plenty of public transport running, so avoid the traffic delays and leave the car behind, visit www.131500.com.au for more information or call 131 500.
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou
When to watch your Caltex Socceroos this weekend
There's FA Cup action on the cards for two Australians this weekend as another prepares for a massive top-of-the-table encounter. Multiple players are involved in matches with major title ramifications, while Mark Milligan has a new manager to impress in Scotland. Read on t