Viduka to put friendships aside
Qantas Socceroo captain Mark Viduka will need to overcome personal friendships with several players from Croatia, when the two teams meet in Thursday’s do or die World Cup group match in Stuttgart, Germany.
Qantas Socceroo captain Mark Viduka will need to overcome personal friendships with several players from Croatia, when the two teams meet in Thursday-s do or die World Cup group match in Stuttgart, Germany.
Croatian coach Zlatko Kranjcar has reportedly included Stjepan Tomas as the replacement for suspended Robert Kovac to mark Viduka, who also happens to be is one of Viduka-s best friends from their days as Dinamo Zagreb together.
"He has been a good friend of mine," said Viduka, after the players had a relaxed session, where they played some fun games including soccer volleyball.
"When I came to Zagreb, we were both on our own, his parents at the time were in a refugee camp of the war. “We were living next to each other and hanging out every day and he-s very special."
"I am happy for him that he‘s going to be playing, because everybody wants to play in the World Cup."
Asked if he thought this might be a plan to get inside his head a little bit, Viduka brushed it off.
"No, I don-t think so. Look Robert Kovac got the two yellow cards and it was a situation of having to put in a replacement and he (Tomas) is a good defender."
Viduka knows many of the Croatian players plus the coach, who was his first coach at Zagreb.
"I know quite a few of them," Viduka said. "Obviously the Aussie boys I know, I have known some of them from my AIS days."
"Obviously I know the coach, because he was my first coach when I went to Zagreb, his son (Niko), if I keep the list going, I think we-ll be here all day."
Viduka admits the match will be special, but not just because it-s against the team of his heritage.
"Very special; It-s a very special game because first of all we can go further in the World Cup," he said. "Secondly obviously because of my heritage it-s very special, but for me the most important is going forward and going through to the next round."
He has no doubts that it will be a tough match and given that both teams are very similar in style, he wants to see some commonsense in the officiating.
"I rate them very highly," he said of Croatia. "Look they flew through their group stages to qualify for the World Cup."
"Realistically if you look at the FIFA rankings, where they are and where we are, they are a lot further ahead than we are and they are not to be taken lightly."
"I hope it-s not a rough game, I don-t think it will be a rough game" Viduka said hopefully. "But there is a lot at stake for us and for them and sometimes those sorts of games get fiery."
"Everybody wants to win, we both want to win. A little bit of commonsense I think will be needed."
Viduka, who went narrowly close to scoring against Brazil, will be extra keen to get his name among the scorers on Thursday.
"It would be quality. It would be a personal pleasure lets put it that way," Viduka added.
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