Giant striker Josh Kennedy has continued his remarkable scoring rate for Australia to give manager Pim Verbeek a pleasant selection dilemma ahead of the FIFA World Cup™ as the Socceroos beat Denmark 1-0 in their first warm-up friendly in South Africa.
The match appeared to be heading for a 0-0 draw at Ruimsig Stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg until Kennedy took full advantage of a slice of luck for the Aussies in the 71st minute to score his seventh goal in just 18 appearances for the Socceroos.
Kennedy was playing as Australia's sole striker under Verbeek's preferred 4-5-1 system but it is a position he is only likely to have during the FIFA World Cup should Verbeek's favoured striker, Harry Kewell, not be fit.
But while Kewell - who is expected to rejoin full training with his team-mates in South Africa on Thursday as his injured groin continues to improve - is expected to be fit for Australia's opening FIFA World Cup game against Germany in just under a fortnight, Kennedy again showed he is ready to step into the breach should Kewell either not be ready or suffer another injury setback.
Kennedy again demonstrated throughout a match of few chances that he is a solid target man as he took full advantage of a deflected cross from Luke Wilkshire with just under 20 minutes remaining. As a result of the deflection the ball looped up in the air between two Danish defenders and landed perfectly for the Japan-based striker to tap home from close range.
Verbeek made five changes from the starting line-up that struggled to beat New Zealand with the Socceroos at full-strength other than Kewell and Brett Emerton, who is still recovering from a calf strain.
Number one goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, experienced defenders Wilkshire and Scott Chipperfield as well as Richard Garcia and Kennedy all returned from injury as Adam Federici, Mark Milligan, David Carney, Dario Vidosic and the axed Scott McDonald were the players to make way from the team that started against the All Whites.
The Danes elected not to start their two best strikers in Arsenal star Nicklas Bendtner, who is recovering from a groin injury, and Soren Larsen - who was their leading goalscorer during qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, although he did come on in the second half.