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Nov 17, 2009

Socceroos a chance to take on All Whites

Football Federation Australia will wait until the Socceroos' World Cup group opponents are known before considering the possibility of playing neighbours New Zealand in the lead-up to the 2010 tournament.

With Australia and New Zealand headed to a World Cup together for the first time, there have been calls for the teams to renew their once-intense rivalry with a friendly fixture.

The Socceroos have not played the All Whites since a friendly in the lead-up to the Confederations Cup in 2005.

They used to meet regularly in World Cup qualification before Australia switched to the Asian Football Confederation from Oceania.

The Socceroos are expected to play a blockbuster farewell match against a higher-ranked nation at the MCG on May 26 prior to departing for South Africa.

It is believed they will then play up to three friendly matches in South Africa, against opponents also to be determined depending on who Australia draw in their World Cup group.

That could make finding time for a trans-Tasman match in Australia difficult but FFA did not rule out a potential fixture when asked on Wednesday.

"We won't be finalising our plans for a farewell match in Australia until after the World Cup draw is decided on December 4," an FFA spokesman said.

"When we know who our opposition will be in the group stage we can make more informed decisions about who we would like to play in the lead-up."

The All Whites secured qualification with a 1-0 win over Bahrain in Wellington on Saturday, booking their first World Cup berth since 1982.

Both they and the Socceroos will learn their three group opponents at the official draw on December 4 in Cape Town.

They are two of the 26 teams already qualified for the tournament, while the remaining six spots will be decided on Thursday morning (AEST).

Four of those will go to European sides after the completion of second-leg playoffs between France v Ireland, Portugal v Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine v Greece and Russia v Slovenia.

A rematch between Egypt and Algeria will determine the final African qualifier while Uruguay hold a one-goal lead heading into the second leg of their playoff with Costa Rica in Montevideo.

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