Sport Football Socceroos primed for kick-off in Cuiaba

Socceroos primed for kick-off in Cuiaba

Mark Bresciano
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Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou refused to weigh in on the refereeing drama of the World Cup’s opening game, despite it possibly becoming a big factor in Australia’s clash with Chile on Friday.

The showpiece kicked-off in controversy on Thursday after Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura awarded a penalty that helped hosts Brazil start their campaign with a 3-1 win over Croatia in Sao Paulo.

Nishimura ruled Fred had been brought down in the box however, replays showed there had been minimal contact.

In the wake of the controversy there are suggestions referees may be gun shy when it comes to making similar decisions during the rest of the tournament.

Socceroos striker Tim Cahill said on Wednesday he was expecting there to be shirt-pulling and nudging by the Chileans in the box during their crucial first clash in Cuiaba on Friday (Saturday AEST).

But Postecoglou wouldn’t get drawn into the matter.

“All the teams have had a visit from the officials and they’ve told every country what they’re looking for, so we’re aware of what they’re looking at,” Postecoglou said.

“The referees have got their job, we’ve got ours so we won’t sit there and try and preempt what may or may not happen.

“We’ve been told the things that are going to be highlighted at this World Cup and we’ll deal with it accordingly.”

While the Chileans may look to nullify Cahill’s aerial advantage Postecoglou said he wasn’t Australia’s only threat.

“We’ve got somebody there who’s very threatening and Timmy’s looked very sharp. But I don’t think that’s our only avenue for goal,” Postecoglou said.

“We’re working on a few things and we certainly believe we can be a threat in other areas.

“But there’s no doubt they’re going to have to pay attention to Timmy because if he does get half a chance in the box, particularly in the air, he can head it in from any position. So we’ll use that.”

Postecoglou emphasised there were no concerns over Mark Bresciano’s fitness and indicated the veteran midfielder would start.

The 34-year-old has been battling a back complaint in the lead up to the Socceroos’ campaign opener.

“Absolutely (he’s right to start),” Postecoglou said.

“He’s trained really well and more important he’s recovered from training really well. So he’s ready to go.

“I think he’s really looking forward to it, he’s got that steely look in his eye and he’s ready to play.

“There’s no doubt in my mind physically now he’s right to go.”

Meanwhile, FIFA has ordered the Socceroos to change their strip for their opening match.

They were due to wear the traditional gold shirt and green shorts. But they will now play in gold shorts, with the governing body ruling the green would have clashed with Chile’s blue shorts.