Aussies ready to revive World Cup campaign
AMMAN - Australia are exuding confidence ahead of their crucial clash with Jordan here on Tuesday as they seek their first victory in the final phase of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
After draws against Oman and Japan saw them garner just two points to lie third in Group B, the Socceroos have been buoyed by their clinical 3-0 victory over Lebanon in a friendly in Beirut on Thursday.
The morale-boosting triumph broke a four-game winless streak beginning February this year, their longest barren run since 2000 when they went five games without registering a victory.
But all that will be a thing of the past when they take on Jordan with the aim of resurrecting their campaign as they bid to qualify for the World Cup for the third successive time.
Australia's German coach Holger Osieck was pleased with the way his team played against Lebanon, saying it augured well for Tuesday's match.
"We had some good aspects that gives me some confidence for our game on Tuesday," he said after the Lebanon friendly which marked the 100th match for Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Schwarzer hardly had anything to do in the match, though, with the Aussie defence not giving the Lebanese any chance to have a crack at goal.
Tim Cahill, Matt McKay and substitute Archie Thompson were on target for Australia as Osieck fielded the his best possible team against Lebanon and that could be the case too against Jordan, ranked 87th inthe world.
The Jordanians will be wary of Cahill and midfield veteran Mark Bresciano who both excelled against Lebanon and are expected to play key roles again.
Jordan began their campaign with an encouraging 1-1 draw against Iraq on June 3, but a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Japan deflated their confidence and are not expected to test the Aussies despite playing in the balmy Amman weather.
The Aussies though are taking nothing for granted, with Schwarzer saying they remained formidable opponents in home conditions.
"It's a big challenge. The conditions are going to be very, very extreme again," the veteran goalkeeper said after Australia's win over Lebanon.
"It was good preparation for us because the conditions are going to be similar, so hopefully we can go to Jordan and continue where we left off."
A win on Tuesday corresponding with an expected Japan victory over Iraq on the same day in Saitama would ease Australia's nerves after a difficult few months that also included a 3-1 defeat by Scotland besides the World Cup qualifying draws against Oman and Japan.
Two teams from the group qualify for the tournament proper in 2014.
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