Australia wary of Jordan mission
Australian midfielder Mark Bresciano looms as a key man for Wednesday's qualifier with Jordan. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos
They've rediscovered their mojo but the Socceroos remain on high alert, knowing anything but a win against Jordan could spell serious trouble for their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Australia heads into tomorrow morning's (AEST) crunch match in Amman buoyed by a 3-0 win over Lebanon on Friday, a result that snapped a four-game winless streak.
While Holger Osieck's side was always likely to prove too strong for 124th-ranked Lebanon, there were plenty of encouraging signs, particularly in attack.
With two draws from their opening two games of the final phase of qualification, the Socceroos will want to continue with the same positive mindset against Jordan.
''Obviously it wasn't against the strongest of opponents but it's good to get the confidence up and to score three goals is great,'' striker Robbie Kruse said.
''We had some good structure there but the real test is [tomorrow].
''It's come to the point where it's vital for us to get the three points and we know it's going to be a tough test.''
While 87th-ranked Jordan has picked up just a point from its opening two qualifiers in this stage, Australia knows all too well not to underestimate any opponents from Asia.
The sides have never met before but the Socceroos have faced many similar challenges in the region and vow to be well prepared in Amman.
''We've done our homework and we know what to expect,'' defender Jade North said.
''We've played a number of teams from the Middle East now so we know what we're up against. It's all about turning up on the day.''
Australia sits third in Group B on two points, behind Iraq on goal difference, and risks losing further ground on runaway leader Japan (7 points), which hosts the Iraqis tomorrow.
With only the top two teams in the group securing automatic qualification, Osieck will not want to be on the back foot heading into another tricky away assignment against Iraq next month.
After fielding a strong starting line-up against Lebanon, the German coach is again expected to field an attack-minded team again as the visitors look to take the game to Jordan.
Brett Holman and Mile Jedinak could be restored to the starting line-up while Osieck must decide whether to keep faith with a youthful forward line of Kruse and Nikita Rukavytsya after the pair impressed last week.
Veterans Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski look set to continue in the heart of defence and the Socceroos will be banking on the latter's inside knowledge of football in the Middle East to hold them in good stead again.
In Ognenovski's six internationals in the region, Australia has conceded just one goal, recording four wins and two draws in the process.
The 33-year-old recently joined Qatari club Umm-Salal and said he'd been told to expect a strong Jordan team that posed a particular threat up front. AAP