Australia coach Holger Osieck insisted his focus is firmly on Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Oman, not Tuesday’s clash against Japan.
The Socceroos begin the final phase of qualifying for Brazil 2014 against the Omanis in Muscat and have a short turnaround before taking on the Japanese at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday night.
But while plenty of pundits and fans alike are already looking forward to Tuesday’s match, Osieck will not be distracted from the task at hand against Oman, who began their campaign with a 3-0 defeat in Japan.
“I cannot play a team here, go into a qualifier, and only have Japan in mind,” Osieck said.
“That will never happen, that I will let that slip. Oman is like a first final.”
Osieck also refused to be critical of the scheduling that has meant Japan play their first two matches at home, with Friday’s battle with Jordan coming after they brushed Oman aside.
“For the Japanese it’s an advantage playing back-to back home matches first,” he added.
“Anyway, we have to accept the schedule and the dates of playing matches one after the other.”
Oman coach Paul Le Guen was not making any big predictions about the game and captain Ali Al Habsi, who plays for Wigan, conceded that the fact his team includes players who are amateurs will be a factor.
But Osieck played down any such advantage, believing the Omanis will pose a strong threat.
“To play in Europe does not give you the edge over a team like Oman,” Osieck said.
“As Lucas (Neill) said we know your players, we know the quality of them and how good they are.
“It does not matter where you play and how old you are, it is how good you play.
“Oman is very good, we know that.”
And just days after Tim Cahill welcomed the test that the searing temperatures will provided, captain Lucas Neill said the heat will not be an excuse for his team if the result does not go their way.
“The weather is the same for both teams,” Neill said.
“If anything, Oman should be more prepared, having lived in this climate, but we have been here long enough to get used to it now.
“We don’t feel it is going to be a deciding factor in the game.”
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