Europe-based Socceroos to run against Romania

Europe-based Socceroos to run against Romania

Europe-based Socceroos to run against Romania

Posted 30 January 2013, 13:23 AEST

Coach Holger Osieck will use next Wednesday's Socceroos friendly against Romania to vet Europe-based players ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Australia has announced a 19-man squad for next Wednesday's Socceroos friendly against Romania in Spain.

Head coach Holger Osieck said he would use the match to assess players ahead of the crucial period of World Cup Asian qualifiers beginning with the match against Oman in Sydney in March.

"I had a good look at the Australian-based and Asian-based players (against) Korea (South Korea) and Hong Kong so this is a good opportunity for me to check the performance of the European-based players that I haven't seen since last October," Osieck said.

"Over the past week or so, I have also been scouting a number of players throughout Europe, so I have a good idea on where they are currently at, but being in camp will give me a much better idea.

The squad contains four players returning after injury or absence from the side - Rhys Williams, Jason Davidson, goalkeeper Adam Federici and Michael Zullo.

Romania is right in the mix for World Cup qualification from Europe, sitting in third place on goal difference in group four behind the Netherlands and Hungary.

Although the Romanians were thumped 4-1 by the Netherlands in qualifying last year, they have proven a dangerous side with a spread of scorers including forwards Ciprian Marica and Gheorghe Grozav.

The team is ranked 33rd in the world by FIFA, compared to the Socceroos who are 36th.

"In terms of Romania, it's no secret that they are a quality team, well placed in their qualification group and they play good football," Osieck said.

"It's always good to test ourselves against tough opposition and Romania will be a good yard-stick for us in the lead up to our (World Cup) game against Oman in March."

Osieck said that he had been considering Dutch-based midfielder Adam Sarota for selection - but Sarota, who plays for FC Utrecht in the Dutch Eredivisie suffered a torn anterior cruicate ligament in his side's game against Willem II on the weekend and will be out for eight to 10 months.

"We wish Adam a safe and speedy recovery and hope to see him on the field soon enough," Osieck said.

The friendly will take place in Malaga, with kick-off at 7:00am (AEDT).

Socceroos squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Robert Cornthwaite, Jason Davidson, Adam Federici, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Matthew Leckie, Ryan McGowan, Matt McKay, Lucas Neill, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mark Schwarzer, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo.