Australia coach Holger Osieck is demanding perfection from his side ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualification match against Oman. The Socceroos will book their place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup campaign with two games to spare if they are victorious at the Sultan Qaboos Stadium but Osieck wants his side to remain undefeated.
The German believes a win against Oman will confirm Australia's position as the strongest team in the Asian region. "I think they will have to respect us," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I want the psychological advantage. As long as we develop as a team, and we play our brand of football and keep performing well, the others teams will acknowledge it and they'll be a bit more cautious when they play us.''
But the Socceroos coach is not complacent ahead tomorrow night's match despite his side's convincing 3-0 win over Oman last month. ''I think they're going to give us a tough ride,'' Osieck said. ''They're in a position, if they don't beat us their campaign is over. I expect them to be very aggressive, and play the entire spectrum of what is tolerated, what is not tolerated, to beat us. They can probably play better than they did in Sydney, that's for sure.''
A-League duo Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton return to Australia's squad but Everton's Tim Cahill is out with a groin problem. Oman coach Paul Le Guen has made some changes to the side which last faced Australia, with Fawzi Bashir and Hussain Al Hadhri likely to start in midfield. Right-back Rashid Al Farsi is ruled out with a cruciate ligament injury.
United Arab Emirates coach Abdullah Misfir is confident his side can earn their first points of their qualification campaign when they face Korea Republic in Group B. UAE lost 2-1 to the Koreans last month to record their third successive defeat as their disastrous World Cup qualification campaign continued.
However, Misfir believes his side will not be scared of their opponents. "Of course we respect our opponents as they are the group leaders, but that does not mean we will not keep trying and experimenting with our style of play," Misfir told www.gulfnews.com. "For sure, we will have more freedom in attack so that we do not commit the same mistakes we did in Seoul last month."
Kuwait host Lebanon in the other Group B game while Saudi Arabia face Thailand in Group D. Group A sees Jordan hoping to extend their 100 per cent winning record against Singapore while second-placed Iraq host China PR. Japan play Tajikistan and Uzbekistan play Korea DPR in Group C while Bahrain will be looking for a win over Group E leaders Iran and Qatar face Indonesia.