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Jun 4, 2011

Coach Osieck keen for Socceroos to impress

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck wants to give as many players as possible an opportunity to impress in Sunday afternoon's clash with New Zealand in Adelaide but not at the expense of victory.

In the absence of the likes of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and David Carney, the German is expected to hand opportunities to a host of fringe players including Michael Zullo and James Troisi.

But Osieck also emphasised the need for Australia to perform well in both Sunday's match and Tuesday's clash with Serbia in Melbourne, ahead of the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

"Every game we play is a very serious thing and every game has a special meaning," Osieck said.

"The two games we are playing now are definitely very important in regards to the qualifying and you can see from the roster there is a couple of new faces in the group and I'm really eager to see them.

"But also we want to entertain, play good football and of course we want to win."

Osieck said he would not decide on his starting eleven until match day but hinted captain Lucas Neill would not recover in time from a groin problem to start against the All Whites.

"He's having excellent rehab, he is training with the team and he looks OK, I think he is on a good wavelength," Osieck said.

"But I'm not sure it will be the right time for him to start."

Neill's absence would likely open the door for Matthew Spiranovic or Jon McKain to start, though there is some speculation both could do so if Sasa Ognenovski is rested until the Serbia game.

Brett Emerton would likely be named captain with Luke Wilkshire also in the mix, though it remains unclear which players Osieck plans on saving for Tuesday's match.

"We have 23 players here and we definitely will look to (rotate)," Osieck said.

"I told them already when we started that I want to have a good look at everybody."

New Zealand arrived in Adelaide on Saturday bleary eyed after returning from Denver following Thursday's 3-0 loss to Mexico.

But coach Ricki Herbert was confident his injury-ravaged squad would put its best foot forward against Australia.

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