Preview: Qantas Socceroos v Netherlands
Australia gets another chance to test itself against World Cup quality opposition, with the world's No.3 team, the Netherlands, travelling to Australia for the first time.
Date: Saturday October 10 Kick-off: 7:30pm AEDT Venue: Sydney Football Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1
Head-to-head Played 2: Wins: Australia 1. Draws: 1
Previous meeting Netherlands 1, Australia 2, Eindhoven, International Friendly, September 2008
Past five matches: Australia: Qatar 0, Australia 0, Doha, WC qualifier, June 7, 2009 Australia 2, Bahrain 0, Sydney, WC qualifier, June 10, 2009 Australia 2, Japan 1, Melbourne, WC qualifier, June 17, 2009 Rep of Ireland 0, Australia 3, Limerick, August 13, 2009 Korea Rep 3, Australia 1, Seoul, September 5, 2009
Netherlands: Iceland 1, Netherlands 2, Reykjavik, WC qualifier, June 6, 2009 Netherlands 2, Norway 0, Rotterdam, WC qualifier, June 10, 2009 Netherlands 2, England 2, Amsterdam, friendly, August 12, 2009 Netherlands 3, Japan 0, Enschede, friendly, September 5, 2009 Scotland 0, Netherlands 0, Glasgow, WC qualifier, September 9, 2009
Analysis: Australia gets another chance to test itself against World Cup quality opposition, with the world's No.3 team, the Netherlands, travelling to Australia for the first time. The Dutch were the first team in Europe to qualify for the World Cup and come to Australia with close to their best squad as manager Bert van Marwijk looks to sort out his best 23 to take to South Africa.
For the Qantas Socceroos, this represents an excellent warm-up for the upcoming Asian Cup qualifier against Oman in Melbourne next Wednesday, a game the Socceroos simply must win. Pim Verbeek has opted for his strongest squad possible, taking the chance to assess his charges with the World Cup no doubt also in his mind.
It makes for a cracking match-up, especially when you consider the strong recent history between these two teams and Australian football's Dutch connection. When Guus Hiddink was appointed Qantas Socceroos coach in the lead-up to the 2006 World Cup, it started a strong Dutch influence on Australian football.
Four years later, Australia has a Dutch coach (Verbeek), a Dutch assistant in Henk Duut, a Dutch technical director in Han Berger, as well as several other key personnel from the western European nation. Along with that, Australia has played the Netherlands twice in the past three years, drawing 1-1 in the lead-up to the World Cup before recording a famous 2-1 friendly win in Eindhoven last year.
That win, although only in a friendly, has had both sides talking of the Dutch looking for revenge in this match. There is no doubt the proud footballing nation's pride was pricked with that defeat and they get their chance to hit back in front of Australia's home crowd on Saturday.
The Qantas Socceroos get back Brett Emerton for the first time since January, when he suffered a serious knee injury while playing for Blackburn. Emerton is a vital cog to the Socceroos in both defence and attack and his return will be closely monitored having played a handful of matches for Rovers. Veteran Craig Moore is also back in the fold after some time away and his hopes of making the trip to South Africa may well be determined by his performances in these two matches.
It will be also be interesting to see how skipper Lucas Neill performs given he only settled his club future with Everton recently and has only seen a few minutes of game time so far this season.
Josh Kennedy will be the man the Dutch will be very mindful of, considering both his recent form for Nagoya Grampus and the fact he played such a major role in that victory in Eindhoven, winning the penalty for the first goal then scoring the second. Of course Australia also has world renowned players like Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell at its disposal as well, while Shane Lowry, who only recently decided he would represent Australia over Ireland, is selected in the squad for the first time.
The Dutch has an entire squad of world class players, with Robin Van Persie and Andre Ooijer the only ones to withdraw with their wives due to give birth. Those changes saw Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and former Chelsea defender Khalid Boulahrouz come in.
Australian fans will be familiar with much of the squad, especially Liverpool pair Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel, Inter Milan's Wesley Schneider, Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben and Feyenoord's Giovanni Van Bronckhorst.
The Socceroos will remember that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the man who gave the Netherlands and early lead in that match last September. In fact the Australians have made a slow start in both recent clashes with the Dutch and will be looking to avoid a similar issue here.
So often friendly matches are determined by who takes their chances. There is no shortage of quality in either midfield, and it may be the case of which team is able to put the best balls into the box and get shots on target. It should be a very entertaining night.
Qantas Socceroos squad: Mark Bresciano (U.S. Citta Di Palermo, Italy) Caps: 51 Goals: 11, Tim Cahill (Everton FC, England) Caps: 34 Goals: 17, Nick Carle (Crystal Palace FC, England) Caps: 10 Goals: 0, David Carney (FC Twente, Netherlands) Caps: 20 Goals: 3, Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel, Switzerland) Caps: 61 Goals: 12, Ante Covic (If Elfsborg, Sweden) Caps: 2 Goals: 0, Jason Culina (Gold Coast United, Australia) Caps: 42 Goals: 1, Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers, England) Caps: 69 Goals: 16, Vincenzo Grella (Blackburn Rovers, England) Caps: 41 Goals: 0, Brett Holman (Az Alkmaar, Netherlands) Caps: 27 Goals: 1, Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor Kulubu, Turkey) Caps: 6 Goals: 0, Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus, Japan) Caps: 15 Goals: 6, Harry Kewell (Galatasaray Sk, Turkey) Caps: 42 Goals: 13, Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds United FC, England) Caps: 16 Goals: 1, Shane Lowry (Aston Villa (On-Loan To Plymouth Argyle FC), England) Caps: 0, Scott McDonald (Celtic FC, Scotland) Caps: 15 Goals: 0, Mark Milligan (Shanghai Shenhua, China) Caps: 8 Goals: 0, Craig Moore (Brisbane Roar FC, Australia) Caps: 43 Goals: 3, Lucas Neill (Everton FC, England) Caps: 50 Goals: 0, Mark Schwarzer (Fulham FC, England) Caps: 70 Goals: 0, Carl Valeri (U.S. Grosseto FC, Italy) Caps: 17 Goals: 0, Dario Vidosic (FC Nurnberg, Germany) Caps: 1 Goals: 0, Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough FC, England) Caps: 2 Goals: 0, Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow, Russia) Caps: 35 Goals: 0
Dutch Squad: Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht), Piet Velthuizen (Vitesse Arnhem), Edson Braafheid (Bayern Munich), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), John Heitinga (Everton), Glenn Loovens (Celtic), Joris Mathijsen (Hamburg), Khalid Boulahrouz (Chelsea), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Ibrahim Afellay (PSV Eindhoven), Orlando Engelaar (PSV Eindhoven), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), David Mendes da Silva (AZ Alkmaar), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax), Rafael Van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Eljero Elia (Hamburg), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)