Australia vs. Oman  2 - 2

Article

Cahill calls for calm

26 March 2013 15:52

Tim Cahill says there is no need to panic despite Australia requiring some last-gasp heroics to salvage a 2-2 draw with Oman on Tuesday.

The Socceroos appeared headed for an embarrassing and costly World Cup qualifying defeat when they trailed 2-0 early in the second half to the 105th-ranked minnows.

But just as he has done on so many occasions in the past, Cahill popped up with a trademark headed goal to get Australia back into the contest before a Brett Holman strike salvaged a draw five minutes from time.

It was a horribly disjointed performance by Holger Osieck's side in Sydney, especially in the first half, punctuated by sloppy passing and poor options.

With skipper Lucas Neill suspended, Osieck surprisingly turned to Michael Thwaite and Robbie Cornthwaite in central defence, while giving James Holland the nod over Mark Bresciano in midfield.

While the less experienced members of the side failed to deliver on the big stage, Cahill said it was important to stay positive and look forward with optimism.

"We have to stick together. We got a point and we have to drive and go again," Cahill said.

"This is a young team besides me, (Mark Schwarzer) and (Luke Wilkshire) who are the old timers.

"It's not the same team as was before but I stay confident. We've just got to keep going.

"We trained well all week but it's all about producing. It's not going to happen straight away but we can't panic

"We have to stick to what we're doing. It's didn't work in the first half so we need to give a bit more."

Article

Schwarzer: Defeating Oman is a must

25 March 2013 07:11

Mark Schwarzer has described Australia's World Cup qualifier against Oman on Tuesday as their 'toughest game to date'.

Australia are second in the group, but only just - they are ahead of Oman and Iraq on goal difference and a point in front of Jordan.

With regular skipper Lucas Neill suspended, Fulham's Schwarzer will wear the captain's armband for the crucial clash at ANZ Stadium.

"It is great to be playing back home in Australia and I'm confident we'll hit the ground running," Schwarzer said on Monday.

"We need to win the game, we all know that.

"We all know how important the game is and we know we need to pick up three points."

Coach Holger Osieck also got straight to the point, emphasising the importance of a win.

"We don't need to talk around the subject - it's a game that we have to win and we go into it in order to win," he said.

"It's really a crucial one for us in our qualifying campaign."

Both Schwarzer and Osieck said the week-long preparation has been extremely valuable, with the players able to spend plenty of time together both on and off the field.

Osieck also said he has decided who will replace Neill in defence, but was reluctant to give anything away.

"In my mind, yes, I have settled on the pairing," Osieck said.

"Knowing that Lucas wouldn't be available for tomorrow, I've already worked on this and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a good pairing in central defence."

Meanwhile, Oman are happy to go into the match as underdogs.

Coach Paul Le Guen says Australia will be under pressure to get a result, which could free up his team to spring a surprise on the hosts.

"Once again they (Australia) will be favourites, we will be outsiders," Le Guen said.

"But we will try our best."

Article

´Disaster´ fear for Schwarzer against Oman

20 March 2013 14:21

Stand-in captain Mark Schwarzer says it will be a 'disaster' if the Socceroos do not pick up three points against Oman.

Australia takes on Oman in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Sydney but is only just holding on to second spot in Group B.

First and second positions guarantee automatic qualification with the Socceroos under threat from Oman, Iraq and Jordan after Japan has all but secured top position.

Australia, Iraq and Oman are level on five points but the Socceroos have a better goal difference and a game in hand.

"(The Oman game is) a pivotal part of our campaign and we need to pick up three points and any less than three points will be a disaster for us," Schwarzer said.

"We know in general what we are up against and we've obviously played (Oman) on a number of occasions over the years.

"Even though our record is pretty good against them, you still can't take them for granted because they are a country that is emerging and they are going to do whatever they possibly can to try and be one of the teams that qualifies for Brazil 2014."

The 40-year-old goalkeeper was wary of the improvement that the Arab state has had over the past few years.

"They're a talented side and they've got some skilful individual players," Schwarzer said.

"I know the goalkeeper (Ali-Al Habsi) well, who plays for Wigan in the Premiership and I've been able to see him quite a lot over the years.

"I think they're definitely one of the emerging Arab nations in football and they've continuously, consistently got to the final stages of World Cup qualifying campaigns since we've been in Asia.

"We know that they're a team that is getting more and more organised as the years go on and also becoming a better team.

The two teams last met back in June in Muscat, where the Socceroos escaped with a 0-0 draw in oppressive conditions and Schwarzer defended the performance of the side.

"It was one of those games I don't think I'm going to forget for a very, very long time," he said.

"The conditions were horrendous and that's probably the best way to explain them.

"I think it's always difficult from afar watching on a TV screen when you see blue skies and the sun shining and everyone thinks its great conditions to play in.

"It was always a very tall order but in hindsight I think the way we performed was very admirable and I think we deserved to at least come away with a point and overall, because of the condition, we were relatively happy with the result."

The Socceroos snuck a 2-1 victory against Iraq in their last World Cup qualifier in October and the Fulham custodian is hoping that the result can be repeated on Tuesday night.

"Hopefully, (the game) will be a little more comfortable but it's going to be a very tough task for us and as players we are all 100 percent focused on performing and doing our job and preparing for the game on Tuesday," Schwarzer said.

"I think what's also important is how we players play as a team.

"We need to be concerned about the opposition and pay them respect and understand their qualities but we also need to work on our qualities and make sure we are on top of our game and we create them problems."

Article

Cahill urges Australia to keep improving

19 March 2013 09:38

Australia attacker Tim Cahill has challenged his team to keep their momentum going in their World Cup qualifier against Oman on Tuesday.

Cahill has claimed the Socceroos turned a corner in October with their 2-1 win away to Iraq in their last World Cup qualifier and believes Australia cannot afford to miss out on three points when they host Oman in Sydney.

Australia started the fourth round of qualifying in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) with two draws and a loss but moved up to second on goal difference with their win over Iraq.

"I suppose that corner was turned in the last game with the three points and now it's about building on that and progression and not making excuses, just embracing it and hopefully moving forward," Cahill said.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Cahill has called on his Socceroos teammates to put in a good week on the training pitch and ensure they get the job done at ANZ Stadium next week.

"It's all about the points, really, irrespective of what's happened in the past and an average start," the 33-year-old New York Red Bulls forward said.

The Socceroos will be without regular captain Lucas Neill against Oman as the Sydney FC defender is suspended.

With Matthew Spiranovic injured and Sasa Ognenovski left out of the squad, Australia's manager Holger Osieck will have to select a relatively inexperienced central defensive pairing from Robert Cornthwaite, Dino Djulbic, Rhys Williams, Michael Thwaite, Jade North and Mark Milligan.

Having started five of the Socceroos past six matches, Cornthwaite shapes as a favourite for one of the central defensive berths, although the 27-year-old former Adelaide United player is not getting carried away.

"I'd like to put my hand up to start that game, definitely, but, you know, there's a few days of training beforehand, so I've got to make sure I put my best foot forward," Cornthwaite said.

Cornthwaite has scored three goals in his past five internationals since he was a late call-up for the 2-1 friendly win over South Korea in November but the 199cm tall defender's priorities remain at the other end of the pitch.

"Hopefully I can get on the scoresheet again but I think the main objective is obviously keep a clean sheet and get the three points," Cornthwaite said.

If Australia win on Tuesday and AFC Group B leaders Japan knock off Jordan, the Socceroos will move three points clear in second position.