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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final


South Africa out after Uruguay stalemate


Osieck discovers his best Socceroos side

The Socceroos' lineup that has lifted when it mattered most to get Australia to the brink of World Cup qualification is now in the box seat to get first crack next year in Brazil.

Australia's commanding 4-0 win over Jordan on Tuesday night, coupled with Iraq's 1-0 loss to Japan in Doha, means Australia can finish no lower than third in their qualifying group.

But with Iraq now out of contention and likely to send out a sub-strength team for Tuesday's final qualifier in Sydney, the Socceroos are perfectly placed to get the win that would shore up second spot in Group B and automatic qualification for a third straight World Cup finals.

The third-placed team - either Australia, Jordan or Oman - faces a much tougher route to the finals, with further playoffs against another Asian outfit and the fifth-placed South American side.

Australian coach Holger Osieck seems likely to go with an unchanged lineup for the third straight game, having little need to tinker with the starting 11 who hung tough for a 1-1 draw away to group winners Japan, before putting Jordan to the sword.

All five players who came back into the side following the desperately disappointing 2-2 home draw with Oman in March - central defenders Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski, midfielders Mark Bresciano and Mark Milligan and winger Tommy Oar - have cemented their spots.

"I was convinced that the 11 who started in Japan were in that moment the best we have right now and that performance proved me right," said Osieck after the drubbing of Jordan.

"When you review the other games, we never in the entire time started the same 11 in consecutive games.

"I always had to shift, I always had to introduce other players because of injury, because of lack of form, because of suspension.

"There was always a matter of changes and right now I'm in the very fortunate position that I don't have to worry about that.

"They grow together now as a team."

Bresciano and Milligan have formed a telling combination in central midfield, after both were overlooked in favour of James Holland and Mile Jedinak as recently as the March 26 game against Oman.

"Mark Bresciano has some very special qualities in that position," said Osieck.

"But on the other hand look at his counterpart Mark Milligan - what kind of great game he had.

"He looked for the balls into space and played up.

"I can tell you of the two others that are candidates for the position, Mile Jedinak is back from injury and he does very well in training and so does James Holland."

One area still providing some headaches for the coaching staff is left-back, where Matt McKay is being played out of position because of a dearth of other options.

"Matty McKay has definitely stronger elements in his game when he plays more up the field, but looking at our present options, he is the best option," said Osieck.

"So how can I then criticise him heavily, knowing that it's just kind of a compromise.

"All in all I think he does pretty well but he's not a traditional or conventional left full-back."


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