Australia will face Greece at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Tuesday in the second of their two-game international friendly series.
The hosts got the better of Greece in the first game in Sydney on Saturday, with Mathew Leckie scoring a stoppage-time goal to seal a 1-0 win at ANZ Stadium.
While most of the focus was on the poor playing surface, which Australia coach Ange Postecoglou described as “embarrassing”, the 50-year-old used the game to give plenty of playing time to several up-and-coming stars.
Melbourne Victory full-back Jason Geria, 23, and 1860 Munich’s Milos Degenek, 20, played the entire 90 minutes in their starting debuts for the national team, while Rosenborg’s Alex Gersbach, 19, got his first international appearance off the bench.
Liverpool’s Brad Smith, 22, also started, while Chris Ikonomidis, 21, and Ross County’s Jackson Irvine, 23, joined Gersbach as second-half substitutes.
Australia’s new generation of players excited skipper Mile Jedinak, leaving a good impression for the future of the national team under Postecoglou.
On the win, Jedinak said: “We kept at it, we always said to be persistent and don’t give up until the last kick of the game. It’s nice to see we were able to get a reward for some really good stuff throughout the game.
“We’re testing these guys to step in and each and every one of them has to be proud of what they are doing at the moment.
“Jason Geria was fantastic in his first game. He looked right at home which is good. But everyone that’s getting a chance is performing well.”
The surface at Etihad, which has a retractable roof, is sure to be of better standard than ANZ, with Jedinak left disappointed by the conditions the two sides were forced to play on.
“It was pretty shocking to be honest. Being a Sydneysider I’m not too proud and something needs to be done,” the Crystal Palace captain said.
“You’re asking these teams to come out here and travel from Europe, it’s not the way the game should be presented.”
Greece coach Michael Skibbe admitted the difficult conditions made Saturday’s clash a physical encounter, but is hoping for a better response in Melbourne.
“The field and the weather… it was really bad conditions but on the other hand we knew that it was a match with a lot of fight,” he said.
“We tried to do as best as possible and it was getting better in the second half. We have to concentrate now on the match in Melbourne.”
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