The Socceroos will host European opposition for the first time in five years tonight, taking on Greece in consecutive friendlies beginning in Sydney.
After losing 2-1 to England in a friendly last Saturday, the Socceroos will want to claim a big scalp by defeating Greece, who will be without their star striker, Kostas Mitroglou.
The weather forecast is gloomy: the low affecting the entire east coast is likely to see the match played in appalling weather.
Australia’s veteran striker Tim Cahill is battling a hamstring injury and will undergo fitness tests before the match. If he’s not fit, rookie upstart Apostolos Giannou should have an opportunity to shine on an international stage.
In the recent FIFA world rankings, the Socceroos dropped nine places to 59th; Greece, still reeling after a disappointing qualifying campaign that saw them miss out on the 2016 European Championships, are at 40.
The Australians produced a strong showing in Sunderland last Saturday, matching England’s intensity throughout the match. Despite that loss, the squad will undoubtedly have garnered much-needed confidence to improve against the Greeks.
The friendlies provide a platform for less experienced players such as Jackson Irvine, Alex Gersbach and Jason Geria to be introduced to the Socceroos frame.
The last time Greece and Australia met was in Melbourne just before the 2006 World Cup, when Josip Skoko struck to seal a 1-0 victory for the Socceroos over a team that had been Euro 2004 champions. – Patrick Staveley
Top photo of the Socceroos celebrating against Jordan from the Socceroos Twitter feed