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Top 5: First XI costs in Premier League

Transfers 12 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 25, 2013

Osieck: No excuses for Socceroos

Playing at home after an ideal preparation with a squad coach Holger Osieck admits leaves him spoilt for choice, Australia have no excuses ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Oman on Tuesday.

With only four matches left on the road to Brazil, the ANZ Stadium clash is a crucial step toward next year's showpiece.

Australia sit in second spot in their group but only ahead of Oman and Iraq on goal difference and a point in front of Jordan.

"It's a very crucial one and we want to win it. There's no ifs or buts, there's no discussion," Osieck stressed on Monday.

"This is what we are here for and that is what we will do."

Having played their past three qualifiers away, the Socceroos will have the advantage of a home clash this time.

They will also benefit from having spent the whole week together in camp - something Osieck is grateful for as he settled a few selection headaches.

Whereas in previous situations club commitments, injuries and suspensions restricted Osieck's choices, this time, with more younger players jostling for spots, the coach has too many options.

"I'm now in a position that I have to admit I really haven't been in before in that I will really have some headaches but positive ones," Osieck said.

"There is a great deal on offer now in terms of players.

"There's decent quality and players that have made tremendous progress in the last couple of months.

"In recent games at times I have had the problem to really find a good number of players ready for selection but this time the quantity is there and within that quantity I have a lot more quality.

"The training during the week helped me a lot to clarify who is going to start."

With skipper Lucas Neill suspended for the match, fellow stalwart Mark Schwarzer wears the captain's armband.

But question marks still hang over who will replace Neill in the centre of defence.

A-League players Jade North, Michael Thwaite and Mark Milligan and overseas-based Rhys Williams and Ryan McGowan loom as possibilities but Osieck was giving nothing away.

"In my mind, yes I have settled on the pairing," the German coach said.

"Knowing that Lucas wouldn't be available for tomorrow I've already worked on this and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a good pairing in central defence."

The last time Australia played Oman in Muscat last June it ended in a stalemate and Schwarzer knows they'll be no easybeats this time either.

"This is going to be the toughest game to date because of the importance of it - pure and simple," the veteran of 104 caps said on Monday.

"We need to win."

The Omanis however, are equally as determined.

Captain Ali Al Habsi knows his side need a result on Tuesday.

"For us, like Australia, it is a very important game," the Wigan goalkeeper said.

"If we want to continue in the qualification, we have to win or at least draw."

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