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Dec 14, 2012

Osieck sees Socceroos future for rookies

The Hong Kong mission accomplished, coach Holger Osieck can turn his full attention to World Cup qualification and says there are players in his successful experimental squad who are certain to feature.

After a slow start, 17 unanswered goals against minnows Guam and Taiwan ensured an Australian team comprising mainly A-League players easily bettered North Korea's goal difference on Sunday to book a place in next July's East Asian Cup.

There they'll take on hosts South Korea, heavyweights Japan and defending champions China in a competition which falls outside FIFA's sanctioned international dates.

And while Osieck said he'll use that tournament to look again at rising talent, he feels he's already unearthed some rising stars in Hong Kong.

Osieck will have the chance to test those who impressed him the most when Australia play an international friendly against a yet to be announced opponent in February before the next World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney in March.

"Absolutely I can see some of these players in the World Cup squad," Osieck said.

"I'm pretty sure that some of them will break through.

"I have another opportunity with an international in February which gives me another good look at some players.

"The game will probably be played in Europe so I'll have a different group there as well.

"So after that I will decide who will be ready for the Oman game."

Eight players earned their first international caps in Hong Kong with Aaron Mooy and Michael Marrone scoring on debut while the likes of Tomas Rogic, Aziz Behich and Eli Babalj also put their hand up for future selection.

"This really was a welcome opportunity to see the performance level of some players," Osieck said.

"But I never single out anybody, not publicly.

"We'll deal with it internally and they'll all get know what my assessment is."

While Osieck wouldn't play favourites, veteran Archie Thompson did.

The 34-year-old said Central Coast playmaker Rogic, despite only playing a total of 35 minutes in Hong Kong, was his pick of the bunch.

"They all impressed," said Thompson, whose lightning-fast hat-trick against Guam left him one away from Damian Mori's record 29 goals for the Socceroos.

"But I'm always going to say Tommy Rogic because he plays in my position and I just love watching him play.

"His touch is amazing for a big guy and he just seems to have so much time and gets out of tricky situations so easily.

"He's definitely got a bright future."

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