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Jun 16, 2013

Socceroos calm on eve of qualifier: Neill

Skipper Lucas Neill says the atmosphere in the Socceroos squad is low-key and calm on the eve of the team's critical World Cup finals qualifier against Iraq in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Victory against understrength Iraq at Stadium Australia will book Australia a spot at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil.

But Neill says his team has responded to the challenge laid down by manager Holger Osieck and senior players that the job is not yet finished, and they must focus completely or risk a loss which could scuttle their World Cup hopes.

"The atmosphere's been very low-key in a positive way," Neill said on Monday.

"It's very calm. The manager and the senior players have made sure no one's talking about dancing the samba.

"Nobody's in Brazil yet.

"We need one game, one win. Then we can start thinking about all the dreams coming true."

Osieck said the Socceroos had all 26 members of their squad fit for selection.

But it appears unlikely the German will make any changes to the starting line-up which has secured a draw against Japan and victory last week against Jordan.

Those results have put the Socceroos on the cusp of qualification, with a top two finish in Group B assured with victory over Iraq.

A draw or loss will mean Australia need favours in Jordan's match against Oman in Amman early on Wednesday morning to qualify - either to qualify automatically or via extra playoffs if they finished third in the group.

The Iraqis are out of contention to qualify for the World Cup, and are without their two best players - Younis Mahmood and Nashat Akram.

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