AUSTRALIA vs NETHERLANDS, Sydney, 10/10/09, 0930 (BST)
UFWC champions the Netherlands have now held the title for 11 months, but will a long trip down under end their reign?
Rafael van der Vaart has been recalled to the Dutch squad, despite only making a handful of substitute appearances for Real Madrid so far this season. Van der Vaat was warned by coach Bert van Marwijk that sitting on the Real bench could damage his chances of playing in the World Cup Finals. Everton have been linked with a move for the midfielder in January.
The Netherlands will be without the injured Ibrahim Afellay and Gregory van der Wiel, while Andre Ooijer and Robin van Persie will both remain at home as their respective wives are both due to give birth. Suttgart’s Khalid Boulahrouz has been added to the squad.
Australia’s European-based stars will make the long journey home for this friendly match, coming as it does just four days before an Asian cup qualifier against Oman. That means recalls to the squad for the likes of Tim Cahill (Everton), Scott Chipperfield (Basel), Brett Emerton (Blackburn) and Harry Kewell (Galatasaray).
Brett Emerton, recently recovered from injury, has not played for the Socceroos for a year, having scored two goals against Qatar last October. Plymouth Argyle defender Shane Lowry gets a first call-up for Australia, despite having played eight youth internationals for the Republic of Ireland.
Australia are unbeaten against the Netherlands, having drawn 1-1 in 2006 and won 2-1 in 2008. Indeed, the Socceroos were the last side to beat the Netherlands, who have subsequently remained unbeaten in 12 games.
The Netherlands are ranked 3rd in the world by Fifa, with Australia enjoying their highest-ever ranking of 14th. The Netherlands are ranked 5th in the UFWC all-time table, having won 39 title matches (just two matches behind 4th-placed Russia). Australia are ranked 40th, having won just one title match (against the USA in 1992).
Due to the time difference, the match kicks off at 9:30AM UK time.