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Socceroos Squad Meets in Dubai With Plenty of Time

The remaining members of the Socceroos squad will head for Dubai on Tuesday to prepare for Sunday’s (AEST) World Cup qualifier against Qatar.

Only six players are left to complete the extended squad, which is basing itself in Dubai this week before flying to Doha on Friday ahead of the crucial match.

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek put 22 players through a solid training session on Monday evening, with only midfielder Scott Chipperfield and striker Bruce Djite restricted to light duties due to minor problems.

The players still to join the squad are Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Mile Jedinak, Dario Vidisic, Matthew Spiranovic and Michael Petkovic and all players should be on deck by Wednesday morning.

Several players, including Chris Coyne, Jason Culina and Carl Valeri, have been in Dubai for more than a week in order to acclimatise to the Middle Eastern heat.

The conditions promise to be a huge factor in the Socceroos’ quest to officially clinch World Cup qualification, with temperatures of close to 45 degrees Celsius forecast up until gameday.

Midfielder Richard Garcia said even those that had longer to acclimatise to the conditions would find the going tough.

“It’s pretty hard to play in this heat, regardless of how long you’ve been here,” Garcia said.

“It’s always a tall order to play in 44-45 degree heat so it’s going to be a tough game and we’re preparing ourselves for that.”

Verbeek has several significant selection decisions to make this week with Luke Wilkshire suspended, Craig Moore rested and Tim Cahill in doubt.

It means fringe players including Garcia, Mark Milligan, and new face Rhys Williams could come into contention for starting berths.

“I’m just happy to be in the squad and whatever comes comes,” Garcia said.

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Real Football

Published on June 2, 2009

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