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Viduka vows to make Socceroos return

Newcastle United striker Mark Viduka made a surprise appearance at Australia's World Cup training camp in Brisbane on Tuesday and vowed to return to international action once he regains full fitness.

The 33-year-old striker has not played this season after being plagued by an Achilles injury which will see him miss Wednesday's World Cup qualifying fixture with Qatar.

But Viduka, who has scored 11 goals in 43 internationals, joined up with the squad at the team hotel and stated his wish to return to boost Australia's bid for a second successive World Cup appearance, dismissing suggestions he might quit the Socceroos.

"Of course I want to play for Australia again - it's something that's never out of my mind," said Viduka, who has not played for Australia since July last year.

"But it's a step-by-step process and the first stage is to get back playing for my club again.

"I've got to be 100% fit and 100% sure in my mind that my heel is strong enough. When that happens I'll be back for Australia."

Viduka was accompanied by Newcastle physio James Murphy, who has been working with Australia team counterpart Phil Coles to treat the former Celtic and Middlesbrough frontman.

Murphy delivered an optimistic prognosis.

"Surgery is not considered necessary," said Murphy, adding that Viduka is now almost pain free.

Meanwhile, former Australia captain Craig Moore will make his international comeback against Qatar in Brisbane.

The central defender quit the Socceroos earlier this year but has decided to make a return to help Australia qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Australia's Dutch coach Pim Verbeek said he was still undecided whether Moore would start Wednesday's Group One match alongside Lucas Neill but confirmed he would play some part in the game.

"We know his experience, he's a good guy in the group and it's good to have him back," Verbeek told reporters on Tuesday.

"It's not a headache. It's a luxury for me to have players like that back for selection."

Australia crushed Qatar 3-0 and 3-1 when they were drawn together in the previous round of Asian qualifiers but Qatar's new coach Bruno Metsu, who quit Group Two strugglers United Arab Emirates two weeks ago, said his team were ready to spring a surprise.

"Sometimes it's important in football (to have) respect. Maybe in their mind, it is an easy game for Australia tomorrow," Metsu said.

"Maybe this is good for us. It's very difficult, very tough. But I believe in my players."


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