Aussies want to prove they are not just making up the numbers

  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 17 Jun 2005

NUREMBERG: Having proved they are not just at the Confederations Cup to make up the numbers, Australia take on in-form Argentina in their second match of the tournament tomorrow. 

The Australians pushed host nation Germany all the way of a pulsating opening match in Frankfurt, only to lose 4-3 as the unconvincing Germans pulled away at the end. 

Now they face the Argentinians, who beat Brazil 3-1 last week to clinch qualification for the 2006 World Cup and overcame Tunisia 2-1 in their first match in this tournament on Wednesday. 

Australia coach Frank Farina said his side had deserved a better outcome against Germany. 

“When you score three goals you expect to win,” he said. 

“The referee made some poor decisions throughout the match and now it will be very difficult for us as we need to win both remaining group games.” 

The Australians' task became greater when it was announced that key defender Tony Popovic is likely to miss the rest of the tournament because of a badly sprained ankle. 

However, Mark Viduka may finally return to the national side after recovering from a hamstring injury that has restricted him to just a handful of minutes for his English Premiership club Middlesbrough this year. 

Viduka's strength could pose problems for an Argentinian defence that was breached by the lively Tunisians and goalkeeper German Lux looked vulnerable. 

Argentina coach Jose Pekerman has made no secret that he is using the eight-nation Confederations Cup as a chance to try out younger players as he searches for a winning formula for next year's finals in Germany. 

The line-up that takes the field against Australia is likely to show a number of changes. 

“There are a lot of positives to take from this game, but a few negatives too,” he said after the Tunisia match. 

“A lot of the players out on the pitch this evening lacked experience, but it's good to know I can count on them.” 

Argentina defender Juan Pablo Sorin said there were no weak links at this tournament. 

“All the teams here are strong, every game will be a tough test. We'll turn our attention to Australia now, and we'll only start thinking about Germany after that.” 

Argentina meet Germany in Nuremberg on Tuesday, while Australia will complete their group games against Tunisia in Leipzig the same day. – AFP 

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