thumbnail Hello,

The last match on home soil before the flight to South America is a little underwhelming on paper, but affords the Socceroos a chance to build much-needed momentum

Who?

South Africa, nicknamed Bafana Bafana, are ranked 54th in the world, two places above the Socceroos. Coached by Gordon Igesund since 2012, they failed to progress from the second round of CAF World Cup qualifying, finishing two points behind Ethiopia in Group A.

South Africa lost on penalties to Mali in the quarter-finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, having failed to qualify for the 2012 edition of the tournament. Their most notable result of late was a shock 1-0 friendly win over world champions Spain last November.

What?

The international friendly will be the Socceroos' farewell before departing for the World Cup in Brazil, where they will face a much sterner test in another friendly against Croatia, as well as a likely unofficial game against a local club side.

When?

The match will take place at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Monday May 26 at 7.30pm AEST.

Why?

While clashes between South Africa and Australia in rugby union and cricket are always eagerly anticipated, that traditional rivalry doesn't extend to football. A game against Bafana Bafana will not generate the level of public interest shown in the farewell match against Greece prior to the 2006 World Cup, and is arguably less exciting than the clash with New Zealand in 2010. But none of the major international sides would have been keen on making a detour Down Under prior to the tournament beginning in Brazil, leaving Football Federation Australia's options limited.

What could go right?

A morale-boosting victory and some strong performances from both key and fringe players would be the best outcome for Ange Postecoglou and his players. Spain, the Netherlands and Chile will be a far tougher prospect than South Africa, but it can't hurt for the squad to leave for Brazil with smiles on the faces and spirits high.

What could go wrong?

A flat performance and a loss to unheralded opponents would be bad, but potential injuries to key personnel is a bigger concern. With Rhys Williams and Robbie Kruse already out, centre-back and attack are areas of concern. Hopefully Mile Jedinak, Mark Milligan, Tom Rogic and Tim Cahill all come through unscathed.

Related