Scotland - Australia Preview: Levein looks to step up World Cup 2014 preparations
A host of Premier League players look set to feature at Easter Road in a friendly game between the two sides ranked 46th and 23rd, respectively, in Fifa’s latest ranking
By Shane Farrington
Hutton, Caldwell, Berra, Fox
Morrison, Adam, Snodgrass
Phillips, Rhodes, Moloney
Wilkshire, Carney, Williams, Neill
Jedinak, Bresciano, Valeri, Holman
Craig Levein's initial 24-man squad has been hit by a number of withdrawals including Celtic winger James Forrest (groin) and QPR forward Jamie Mackie (calf). Midfielder Ian Black and strikers Ross McCormack and David Goodwillie have all received late calls-up.
Allan McGregor is likely to take his place in goal with a number of Premier League players set to play in front of him including Gary Caldwell and Alan Hutton. Levein could opt for a five-man midfield with Huddersfield’s Jordan Rhodes given an opportunity to lead the line.
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has named a 20-man squad for the match at Easter Road. A number of English-based players past-and-present and likely to start including Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill and Brett Holman.
Veteran duo Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill will not be involved in the match - ex-Liverpool man Kewell has been given the match off as he looks to sort out his club future, while Cahill has recently joined New York Red Bulls.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Jordan Rhodes (pictured right) has scored 71 times in 122 league appearances for Huddersfield, and eight times in eight Scotland U-21 matches. Rhodes is 15/2 with Bet365 to score the first goal in this game.
- Wigan defender Gary Caldwell is the most-capped player in Scotland's current squad with 48 appearances to his name.
- Since taking over in 2009, Craig Levein has won nine, drawn three and lost seven of his 19 matches.
- The two teams last met 12 years ago at Hampden Park, with Australia winning 2-0 thanks to a goal apiece from Brett Emerton and David Zdrilic.
- Australia still hold the record for the biggest-ever international victory - a 31-0 win over American Samoa during the qualification stages for World Cup 2002 on April 11, 2001.
- In the same match, Archie Thompson scored 13 times, which is also a record for the amount of goals by a single player in an international match.
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Top 3 Predictions
Scotland 1-2 Australia
- 19.3 %
Scotland 0-2 Australia
- 15.79 %
Scotland 1-1 Australia
- 12.28 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||15 Aug 2012||Scotland 3 - Australia 1|
|5 Mar 2014||Poland 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|19 Nov 2013||Norway 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|15 Nov 2013||Scotland 0 - USA 0||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||Scotland 2 - Croatia 0||WCQE|
|10 Sep 2013||Macedonia FYR 1 - Scotland 2||WCQE|
|-||Lucas Edward Neill|
|-||Jason Alan Davidson||Defender|
The Huddersfield Town striker has been strongly linked with a £6million move to Blackburn Rovers. He will be hoping to impress Levein in what is only his second cap for his country. Excellent both inside the box and outside, a strong performance could establish him as a regular starter.
The winger joined Aston Villa over the summer and the club’s fans will be eager to get another chance to see the 28-year-old in action before the Premier League kicks-off at the weekend. With 8 goals in 53 appearances for his country he clearly knows where the net is and will be hoping for another solid showing.
Scotland have been hit by a number of absentees but have called up strong players to replace them, while Australia are usually hard to beat. Both sides have included players who will be hoping to grab their chance to impress and the game should be reasonably open.