Sunday, February 8, 2009

Japan vs Australia WCQ

So Australia are to play Japan on the 11th of February in Tokyo. The socceroos will miss the services of Harry Kewell (still recovering from hernia surgery) and Brett Emerton (Archilles' injury). We do get Vincenzo Grella back though, the classy, hard nosed central midfielder will be crucial if we are to nullify Nakamura's influence on proceedings.

Other good news is that red hot midfielder come striker Tim Cahill will be fighting fit for it, shrewdly being rested after 77mins in Everton's 3-0 victory over Bolton. Ace striker Scott McDonald has also scored over the weekend in Celtic's 2-1 victory over Queen's Park. I noticed that the young Turkish based striker, Djite didn't make the squad, but it's only a matter of time given his recent efforts with the boot.

Viduka has just come off the bench for Newcastle, although for only 10minutes, he nearly layed one on for a team mate. It's the first time he's played since reinjuring his archilles 6 weeks ago.

The two coaches have been talking this game up, Verbeek saying that Japan's coach is scared for having closed training sessions. Japan's coach has countered this by saying that in fact, he's not. What we know for sure is that if Australia can win this one, we will have one foot in the world cup village. With such a good start to the campaign, I think Verbeek will attack, we still scare Japan after the last world cup and we can afford to lose quite frankly.

Even without Emerton and Kewell it is easy to select a midfeild from the squad list. Japan will struggle to contain our height and strength, they may have slightly better technique in the form of Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura, as long as he has a quiet game we should be dominant. As for strikers, Kennedy is a head ache for any team tall and agile, McDonald should start alongside him an old fashioned poacher in form but still with something to prove, Cahill has played a lot of striker for Everton too. We're a bit skinny on defenders but Coyne and North have stepped into the breach next to Neill and done admirably.

I guess Japan still deserves favouritism after there recent 5-1 thumping of Finland (understrength), but that was an understrength Japan team too. I Just feel (hope!) that Australia's largely European based side will come out hard and attempt to break Japan's spirit with the knowledge that a win may just about qualify them for the WC and a loss does no great harm.

Squad List:

Mark Bresciano (Palermo, ITA)
Tim Cahill (Everton, ENG)
David Carney (Norwich City, ENG)
Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel, SWI)
Chris Coyne (Colchester United, ENG)
Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven, HOL)
Adam Federici (Reading, ENG)
Richard Garcia (Hull City, ENG)
Vince Grella (Blackburn Rovers, ENG)
Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar, HOL)
Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi SK, TUR)
Josh Kennedy (Karlsruhe, GER)
Scott McDonald (Celtic, SCO)
Craig Moore (Queensland Roar, AUS)
Lucas Neill (West Ham United, ENG)
Jade North (Incheon United, KOR)
Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor, TUR)
Mark Schwarzer (Fulham, ENG)
Shane Stefanutto (FC Lyn Oslo, NOR)
Mile Sterjovski (Derby County, ENG)
Carl Valeri (Grosseto, ITA)
Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow, RUS)

Sorry couldn't findy Japan's squad list but I know it includes most of their top class European players, I'll post it when it pops up.

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