FFA: Osieck under pressure
Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop has declined to guarantee the job security of under-fire Socceroos coach Holger Osieck.
Australia's lame 2-2 draw with Oman in Sydney on Tuesday left the Socceroos facing a desperately tight battle to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year. There's now nearly 10 weeks before the Socceroos' crucial clash with qualifying group heavyweights Japan in Saitama on June 4, but Osieck has no practice matches in between where he can try to restore confidence.
Asked if Osieck still enjoyed FFA's full support, Gallop chose not to answer directly, saying: "The Socceroos have the full support of the FFA but it goes without saying that we are under pressure to make it to Brazil and the coach and the staff know that.
"We want to qualify for Brazil. We've got three games to come and we need to be making sure we give every effort we can into winning those games."
Asked if Osieck's position would be reviewed before the Japan game, Gallop said: "No one needs to remind Holger and indeed his staff and indeed the team that they're under pressure."
Australia are still in control of their own destiny but desperately need at least a point out of the Japan match to make sure they aren't relying on other results to go their way as they play their remaining two games.
Osieck talked the talk during his eight-day camp leading into the Oman match, lauding the number of options available to him. But on the pitch the Socceroos failed to deliver and for the most part looked flat and devoid of creativity.
His decision to pair two defensive midfielders was shown up as a glaring error. With the A-League grand final taking place on April 21, domestic players in the Socceroos squad must find a way to stay fit and in form leading into the Japan clash. Gallop said Osieck was in charge of preparations.
"I'm sure they'll be talking to Holger about their preparations for June because we've got three games in a short space and we need them to be ready for those three games," he said.
Australia has qualified for the past two World Cups, with interest in the national team exploding since the Socceroos made it to Germany in 2006.
After all the inroads the A-League has made this season, with the success of the Wanderers and the buzz behind superstars like Alessandro Del Piero - making it to Brazil would give the FFA another major boost. However, Gallop claimed it wouldn't be "catastrophic" if Australia missed out.
"It wouldn't be catastrophic because the A-League has become the backbone of Australian football which you couldn't possibly say in years past," he said."But we've been to the past two World Cups, we want to go to a third in a row. It's important and we'll be doing everything we can to get there."