Vidmar’s charges maintain optimism

Qantas Australian Under 23s coach Aurelio Vidmar says his side remain upbeat despite the tough task they face to qualify for London 2012.

Qantas Australian Under 23s coach Aurelio Vidmar says his side remain upbeat despite the tough task they face to qualify for London 2012.

The Aussies meet United Arab Emirates in Dubai in the early hours of Thursday morning (Australian time) knowing nothing less than three points will maintain their aspirations of reaching the 2012 London Games.

“We know what is in front of us,” said Vidmar, from Dubai where the team is in camp.

“We've still got a lot to play for, but if we don't win then we're definitely gone. There is still a lot of fight in us and a lot to fight for.”

Vidmar said the team impressed in defeating the senior Philippines national team 1-0 last week, despite virtually fielding entirely different line-ups in the two halves.

“I thought we were pretty unlucky against Uzbekistan,” said Vidmar of their most recent qualifier against Uzbekistan, played in sub-zero temperatures in Tashkent.

The squad has been boosted by St Mirren midfielder Aaron Mooy who has linked with the squad this week, however Australia-s plans were dealt another blow after being denied the services of Mathew Leckie.

German Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach declined to let the speedy attacker make the trip, with the club under no obligation to do so due to the match being held on a non-FIFA international match date.

The Qantas Australian U-23s must defeat UAE and then repeat the feat against Iraq in Gosford next month if they are to have any hope of finishing second and getting into the play-offs for a Games spot.

If the Aussies finish second in the group, they will play-off against the runners-up from the two other Asian groups in Vietnam later next month. The winner of that will then have to overcome Senegal to claim the remaining berth for London 2012.

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