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Australia to play SAfrica, Netherlands in WCup warm-ups

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 7 Jul 2008

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Australia will play South Africa and the Netherlands in warm-up games in August and September ahead of their Asian World Cup qualifying campaign, Football Federation Australia said Monday.

The Socceroos will play 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa at Loftus Road, London, on August 19 and the Netherlands in Eindhoven on September 6, FFA said.

Australia open their final Asian World Cup qualifying group against Uzbekistan in Tashkent on September 10.

“With many of South Africa's first-team players also based in England and elsewhere in Europe, meeting them in London is an efficient and valuable opportunity for both of us,” FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said.

Australia last played South Africa in a 1-1 draw in Durban in 2005 after the Socceroos won their previous encounter 1-0 in London in 2004.

The Dutch game takes place just four days before Australia's trip to Uzbekistan to start their final push to the 2010 World Cup finals.

“It's important that we go into the Uzbekistan game with as much preparation as possible, and playing a team which is ranked fifth in the world and having made the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 will give us just what we need at that time,” Buckley said.

It is also a warm-up match for the Dutch team, which is set to meet Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier on September 10.

Australia has only met the Netherlands once before in a warm-up match, a 1-1 draw prior to the 2006 World Cup.

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