Skoko presses for starting position
If Guus Hiddink is to make changes to his squad for Sunday’s Brazil match, one player that is certain to come under consideration for a starting spot will be experienced midfielder Josip Skoko.
If Guus Hiddink is to make changes to his squad for Sunday-s Brazil match, one player that is certain to come under consideration for a starting spot will be experienced midfielder Josip Skoko.
Skoko, who scored a cracking winner to earn the Socceroos a farewell victory over European Champions Greece, is confident he will play some role in the next two games and would dearly love it to be against reigning World Champions.
While Hiddink has shown a genuine liking towards young, mobile players, Skoko-s experience at the international level cannot be ignored and against the wily and very experienced Brazilians, he could prove a welcome addition.
"I-m optimistic that I will get some part to play in the next two games and if I do, like every other game, I will just get out there and do my best," said a relaxed Skoko, prior to a closed training session, where Hiddink-s tactics for the match were to be revealed to the squad.
Skoko can play anywhere across the midfield and is equally adept at playing in an attacking or defensive central role, an area of the game that will have a large bearing on the result.
Currently, to many people's surprise, Luke Wilkshire is holding down one of the midfield positions, however Hiddink may opt for a more conservative back-four option against Brazil, who tend to attack with three or sometimes four strikers when they are on the ball.
Wilkshire did his job fairly effectively in blanketing the threat of Alex in Japan-s game, but Brazil is a different proposition and Skoko-s ability to read the play, win the hard ball and turn defence into attack, could make him a viable option if the Dutchmen decides to change things a little.
Skoko acknowledges that it will be a difficult assignment to stop them, whoever plays, and that it takes only moment of magic like the Croatia game for them to make their mark.
"It will be difficult to stop them, but you have to try and neutralise them a little bit going forward," said Skoko.
"I thought Croatia did well to do that, but it's hard because at any moment they get free they can turn a game. Any of them individually can do it.
"They won their game the other day and were not at their best. I think that is dangerous for us and dangerous for everyone they meet from here on."
However despite all this, Skoko is also confident that the Socceroos can achieve something out of this game.
"Everyone is excited of course; they are the best team in the world and it will be an interesting game.
"Maybe we could steal something from this game."