Socceroos head to Melbourne on a high
The Socceroos will head into Tuesday's clash with Serbia full of confidence after a makeshift side proved too strong for New Zealand in a 3-0 win at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Australia coach Holger Osieck was encouraged about the future after a host of fringe players stepped in for absent stars Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer with a solid performance.
Returning striker Josh Kennedy scored a double while young gun James Troisi marked a rare start with his first international goal in front of his hometown crowd.
The likes of Michael Zullo, Jon McKain, Matthew Spiranovic, Rhys Williams and Alex Brosque also impressed, with Osieck declaring they had proved their worth as squad players for the coming World Cup qualifying campaign.
They will hold a training session in Melbourne on Monday evening to prepare for the rematch with their 2010 World Cup group opponents.
Osieck is expected to field a strong side against the Serbians, with captain Lucas Neill set to play a part after missing the All Whites clash with a groin injury.
Regulars Mile Jedinak, Sasa Ognenovski and Matt McKay are also poised to start after being rested or given bit parts against New Zealand.
Osieck also gave big names Brett Emerton, Luke Wilkshire and Brett Holman only half games on Sunday in a bid to balance the weight of expectation on the side and the short turnaround between games.
"It was my challenge to find out how much I could load the individual players and having the obligation here to perform in front of the home crowd in Adelaide, people came with great expectations, and I had to field a strong team ... that happened," Osieck said.
"On the other hand, I had to balance out how far can I load them in the one game considering the fact the next one is in 48 hours and I think so far we are in a position that in another two days that the players that will start will be ready."
Emerton stood in as captain for Neill against the Kiwis and said he was honoured to have led the Socceroos for only the second time as well as praising the efforts of the side's young players.
"I think they did exactly the job that was asked of them," Emerton said.
"They weren't overawed by the occasion and some of the boys showed a bit of flair ... It was good to watch."