Tough Decision In Naming Starting Side For Norway

National Coach Frank Farina admitted it was a tough decision naming the Socceroos starting 11 for tomorrow’s international against Norway at Craven Cottage in London.

National Coach Frank Farina admitted it was a tough decision naming the Socceroos starting 11 for tomorrow-s international against Norway at Craven Cottage in London.   “It-s a great position to be in having 20 fit players to pick from,” said Farina.   “Sometimes when injuries occur to a number of players it is tough because you have to bring in late replacements and fill holes but everyone here is fit.”   “It-s terrific because whoever I put in will be fighting for a spot and looking to perform well.”   “I-m sure some players will be disappointed but we need that. We want players who know they have to grasp an opportunity when it comes their way.”   “It-s probably the most experienced squad I-ve had in my time as the national coach.”   “A lot of these players have been through a couple of world cup campaigns and when you look at stats on winning world cups or even qualifying those teams usually have an average age of 27 or 28. That is roughly where this group is at.”   Farina is expecting a tougher challenge than the Socceroos previous two matches in October, where they accounted for the Solomon Islands 5-1 and 6-0.   “No disrespect to the Solomon Islands but Norway presents a tougher proposition in terms of trying to score goals.”   “We-re expecting a very physical encounter. Norway are in good form at the moment and have had their squad together for a few days so they will be ready to play.”   Farina named defender Stan Lazaridis (pictured above) in the starting eleven despite not having played a full game for his club side Birmingham since returning from injury three weeks ago.   “Stan has had a couple of games back now for Birmingham and he trained well so he deserves a start.”   “I-m confident that he is ready to go. I had a long chat to Stan and he is comfortable so I-m happy to start him.”   Farina named all eight of his 20-man squad that are currently playing in the English Premiership.   Some players arrived just prior to the team bus departure for training, including Scott Chipperfield and Mile Sterjovski who arrived from Switzerland and Italian-based Zeljko Kalac, Marco Bresciano and Vince Grella.   Only Korean-based Ahmad Elrich didn-t train with the team due to arriving in London after the completion of the session.   The team will wear black arm bands and will pay their respects for Johnny Warren who passed away last week with a moments silence prior to kick off.   “Johnny was an icon in Australian sport and the team are all very keen to pay their respects in an appropriate manner. We want to play well and make Johnny proud,” added Farina.   Starting side - Socceroos v Norway, Craven Cottage, 16 November 2004 Mark Schwarzer (gk); Lucas Neill, Tony Vidmar, Tony Popovic, Stan Lazaridis, Josip Skoko, Tim Cahill, Marco Bresciano, Brett Emerton, Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell.   Reserves - Scott Chipperfield, Ahmad Elrich, Vince Grella, Zeljko Kalac (gk), Steve Laybutt, Jonathan McKain, Kevin Muscat, Mile Sterjovski, Danny Tiatto.   SBS' LIVE coverage on Wednesday 17 November will commence at 7:20am with a full replay scheduled at 10:00pm.   *** Tickets can be purchased via the internet by logging on at, or, via telephone by calling See Tickets on +44 (0) 870 264 3333 or in person at Fulham Football Club-s Ticket Office on Stevenage Road or the Club Shop situated on Fulham Road. Prices start from £20 for adults and £10 for children. ***