The matches against the Korea Republic and Lebanon shape up as the final audition stage for the Socceroos ahead of the 2019 Asian Cup.
- Prepare to be excited
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold backs his side to please the eye of those watching, seeking to emulate the style of Premier League side Liverpool FC. Interchanging forwards, pace and fearlessness in the front third are definitive characteristics of Liverpool’s attacking trident and will be a welcome change from the possession focused play of the past.
With A-League stars Craig Goodwin, Thomas Deng, Rhyan Grant and Dimitri Petratos added in to the squad as train on players there is plenty at Graham Arnold’s disposal, with both the issue of Daniel Arzani’s injury and a clear lack of strength in the right back role cause for contemplation in the Socceroos coach’s mind. It is very plausible to believe that debut Socceroos caps will be handed to Rhyan Grant, James Jeggo and Scotsman turned Australian flyer Martin Boyle.
- The opposition could not be more perfect
The Korea Republic is undoubtedly the sterner test of the two, considering the side exists among the top echelon of football in the AFC region alongside the Socceroos, Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Under new coach Paulo Bento the Taegeuk Warriors have remained unbeaten since his arrival and having defeated Uruguay 2-1 in October and are thus not short on confidence.
Theoretically, Lebanon will fundamentally serve as a chance for the peripheral Socceroos and potential bolters to stake their claim on the squad ahead of the Asian Cup. Yet for the Socceroos to get the results necessary to triumph beyond the group stage (where they face Palestine, Jordan and World Cup qualifying playoff rivals Syria), they must hone their craft over the next two fixtures, especially as Korea and Lebanon will differ in style and in how they react to Australia’s system of play.