Osieck plays coy on Socceroos line-up for World Cup qualifier against Japan

The Australia coach has offered little clue as to the make-up of his starting XI to face the Samurai Blue in Tuesday's keenly-anticipated qualifying encounter
Australia manager Holger Osieck will wait until the eleventh hour to name his team to face Japan in Tuesday's AFC World Cup qualifier at Suncorp Stadium.

Osieck came under fire for leaving Tim Cahill and Josh Kennedy on the bench as the Socceroos played out a 0-0 with Oman on Friday, but will not be rushed into making changes for any reasons other than his own.

The German will make his decision after the last training run in preparation for the match, but will not give special selection consideration to anyone - no matter how great their profile.

"There is always the slight possibility for a change," Osieck told reporters at Monday's press conference. "I will have a close look at the other boys who didn’t start the Oman game.

"If I make a change, I will definitely base my judgement on what I see this afternoon."

Osieck was guarded when asked about the possibility of Cahill being recalled.

"Everybody on our list could be on the pitch for us," he said. "As I said, I haven’t decided yet but Tim is obviously always an option for the starting XI."

Osieck deployed Alex Brosque and Harry Kewell - and then Archie Thompson, who replaced the latter after an hour - as the targets for the Socceroos attack against Oman.

The 63-year-old coach has a long association with Japanese football which stretches back to his first stint as coach of Urawa Red Diamonds in the J-League in the 1990s.

The man who has also coached in Germany, Turkey and Canada believes that a change of Japanese culture is behind the Samurai Blue's rise.

Osieck says the current-day Japan players are far more aggressive and less likely to suffer from stage fright than those of the past.

"I have followed the development of [football in Japan] for almost 20 years and the change that has taken place is significant," he said.

"The new generation is a free, open-minded generation - they are not afraid any more. A couple of years ago the Japanese were a little bit reserved and maybe even frightened of foreigners.

"But that has changed dramatically and the different mindset is reflected in the performance on the field. There is great potential in this Japan team."

And with the rivalry Japan and Australia have built on the pitch in recent years, Osieck is expecting to see the best of both sides.

"When the two top teams meet everyone can expect a very interesting and exciting game," he said.

"We are certainly going out there to win the game but I am sure Japan will be playing like they have nothing to lose."

Meanwhile, captain Lucas Neill says his Aussie side will be drawing on past experiences for their meeting with Japan.

With the rivalry between the Socceroos and the Samurai Blue building by the match and with both teams fighting for supremacy in Group B at the fourth stage of AFC World Cup qualifiers, Neill and his men will be calling on memories of battles past – both glorious and failed – for inspiration.

Australia took the honours at the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany, but it was Japan who triumphed in the 2011 Asian Cup final in Doha.

"Over the years we have played some great games against Japan, "Neill said. "[In the 2006 World Cup] we were very new to the tournament.

"The way that we came back from 1-0 to win just sent us on a high going into our next games.

"It's experiences like that one that's given everybody the taste and the feeling that they want to continue to experience those kind of moments on the world stage.

"[The Asian Cup final] is probably a nice memory for Japan and a bad memory for us. We lost to perhaps one lapse in concentration.

"It's situations like that which give us the motivation and desire to put things right. Beating Japan would be a great way to heal us."