Kennedy praises Osieck's striking change
Australia striker Josh Kennedy admits he is enjoying a new lease of life under national team boss Holger Osieck. The in-form Nagoya Grampus forward is the leading goalscorer in the Japanese J.League and has scored three in his last two international matches. And Kennedy has credited Osieck's tactics for his recent purple patch following more cautious times under his predecessor Pim Verbeek.
The 29-year-old, who has recently played alongside a supporting forward up front for the Socceroos, said ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Malaysia in Canberra: "Under Pim the lone striker was really alone and didn't get too much support. I think now whoever plays up front has always got someone around him to support him and I think that's been a big factor in things."
Australia will look to hit their stride tomorrow before hosting Oman in Tuesday's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier. Osieck's men already sit top of Group D in the Asian Football Confederation qualifiers for Brazil 2014 having won their two games so far, a 2-1 win over Thailand and a 3-1 victory in Saudi Arabia.
Kennedy scored a brace in the latter game, when he played alongside Brett Holman, and said: "The last game me and Brett did really well together, he works extremely hard and makes my life very easy on the pitch. It was good to have him last game up next to me up front and hopefully we can continue." Talisman Tim Cahill will miss the forthcoming two games due to injury.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni pits his side against Vietnam in Kobe in a friendly ahead of next week's qualifier against Tajikistan. The Italian has warned his side not to expect an easy ride. "Vietnam have speed, agility and endurance as a team and are solid as a unit both in defence and attack," Zaccheroni told the Mainichi Daily News.
"It won't be that easy," said Zaccheroni. "We can focus on raising the level of our game against Vietnam, before going into the second game against Tajikistan, where we need to deliver a result. If we can concentrate on the things we need to work on in the first game, it will help us in our second game."