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Stewart Coggin

Socceroos at a Crossroads

By November 12, 2012

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It is fair to say that Australia national team coach Holger Osieck has some tough decisions to make over the next few months.

Does he stick with the veterans that served the country well at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups - Australia reached the second round in 2006 and were narrowly edged out in the group stage four years later - or discard ageing legs in favor of the youngsters coming through?

On Wednesday Osieck has the opportunity to give those youngsters a run out in a friendly against South Korea in Hwaseong. With several European based players staying at home due to the arduous journey, the squad is mainly made up of domestic based players. Youngsters such as Tommy Oar, Matthew Spiranovic and the uncapped Tom Rogic have the chance to demonstrate their worth.

Australia's bid to reach the 2014 World Cup looked on the ropes when they trailed Zico's Iraq 1-0 in the last qualifier, but goals from Tim Cahill and Archie Thompson secured a priceless win. But the likes of Cahill, Thompson, Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire and Brett Emerton are well into their 30s now. Do they have the stomach for another World Cup?

Australia have drawn two and lost one of their opening four matches in the final qualifying group, suggesting that the old guard may struggle in Brazil. Osieck will be watching the less experienced players closely in this friendly to see if they have the capacity to step up for the second half of the qualifying series and stake a claim for a World Cup place, should the Socceroos qualify.

Osieck will undoubtedly take several veterans, such as Tim Cahill and Luke Wilkshire, to Brazil but may be well served by giving some of the most talented youngsters an extended run in the team now, with the World Cup still a year-and-a-half away.

Read more about Australia's game against South Korea here

Syamsul Bahri Muhammad / Getty Images

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