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WC Qualification Asia

  • September 2, 2011
  • • 11:00
  • • Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • Referee: Abdullah Balideh
  • • Attendance: 24540
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Fifa World Cup qualifier preview: Australia - Thailand

Fifa World Cup qualifier preview: Australia - Thailand

The Socceroos will take on the War Elephants in Brisbane on Friday and the home side are the overwhelming favourites given their opponents are ranked some 98 places below them


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Australia (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Wilkshire, Neill, Ognenovski, Zullo; Emerton, Valeri, Jedinak, Holman; Cahill, Kennedy.

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck wants his side to get off to a good start in their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier and despite being some 98 places ahead of their opponents on Fifa's world rankings, he'll field a full-strength team.

Harry Kewell is notably absent from Australia's squad due to a lack of match fitness, but there's no other major concerns, with Osieck's main dilemma deciding whether to use Sasa Ognenovski or Matt Spiranovic alongside Lucas Neill in the heart of defence. Youngster Michael Zullo should fill in again at left-back with David Carney still battling a shoulder problem.

Thailand (5-4-1): Hathairattanakool; Tiepma, Jantakam, Siriwong, Phukhom, Bunmathan; Nutnum, Sukha, Thonglao, Sunthornpit; Chaikamdee.

The War Elephants don't have any injury concerns among the 23-man squad which has flown to Brisbane for this clash, however there are a host of first-team regulars back in Thailand.

Thailand's German coach Winfried Schafer, who took over from Bryan Robson earlier this year, is without captain Nattaporn Phanrit after he collapsed during a club game several weeks ago. Injuries to defenders Panupong Wongsa and Natthaphong Samana has Thailand short in the backline, plus first-choice goalkeeper Kawin Thammasatchanan (elbow) is injured too.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • The last time these two nations met was at the 2007 Asian Cup in Bangkok when Australia swept aside Thailand 4-0 to clinch a spot in the quarter-finals.
  • Australia are unbeaten on home turf since a second-string side went down 1-0 to Kuwait in an Asian Cup qualifier in March 2009.
  • The Socceroos haven't conceded a goal in Australia since May last year. That record includes clean sheets against 2010 World Cup finalists Serbia and Paraguay.
  • Osieck has lost just twice since taking over as Australia coach, 1-0 to Japan in the 2011 Asian Cup final and 3-0 to Egypt in a friendly in November last year.
  • Thailand are ranked some 98 places below Australia on the Fifa rankings at 120th in the world.
  • The War Elephants are unbeaten in their past five international matches, albeit against weak opposition in Myanmar, Palestine and Singapore.
  • Thailand scraped past Palestine (ranked 157th in the world) 3-2 on aggregate in the second round of Asian Football Confederation 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
  • Midfielder Surat Sukha spent the past two seasons plying his trade in Australia with Melbourne Victory, before returning to Thai club Buriram PEA earlier this year.

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