Sport Football Socceroos to face South Africa in Sydney

Socceroos to face South Africa in Sydney

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South Africa was not the first choice for the Socceroos’ send-off game, but Football Federation Australia is confident they will provide a good enough hit-out just two days before Ange Postecoglou and his squad depart for Brazil.

The Socceroos will face South Africa at ANZ Stadium on May 26, FFA confirmed on Monday, with the side to fly out on May 28 bound for their training base in the small coastal city of Vitoria.

The South Africans failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup after hosting the showpiece event in 2010.

FFA boss David Gallop conceded there had been discussion with various European nations but would not be drawn on which ones, with both Scotland and Sweden being rumoured as possible opponents.

However, geography presented too big a hurdle.

Despite Australia not playing an African nation in their three group matches against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain, Gallop is confident the clash will provide good preparation.

“There’s no doubt that we did look at a number of options but this was the one worked for us best,” Gallop said.

“Obviously it’s not that easy to find opponents that will travel to Australia at that time of year.

“With the World Cup being played in Brazil many teams are already making big travel commitments so this was a team that could make the trip.

“Ange has looked at the mix of styles that we’ll play against in the lead-up and he’s comfortable with that.”

Australia’s match against Bafana Bafana will be the 21st meeting between the sides, the last encounter ending in a 2-2 draw in London in 2008.

Postecoglou plans to select his best side for the clash.

“We’re going to try and put out a strong line-up of in the team that’s going to reflect what’s going to happen at the World Cup so it’s a really important game,” he said.

“It’s also an important game from the perspective of the players leaving Australian shores with a positive feeling.

“What we need is a massive crowd on that last day and to give the players as much encouragement.”

The Socceroos will play Ecuador on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) in the final clash before Postecoglou names his preliminary World Cup squad by May 16.

The 30-man squad will be in camp on the Central Coast from May 16-22 ahead of the South Africa clash, with Postecoglou to settle on his final 23 players by June 8.

Australia will have two further hit-outs in Brazil before kicking off their campaign against Chile on June 13.

They will face Croatia in Salvador on June 6 with another match to be played against a local club side beforehand in Vitoria.