Injuries forced four key players from Australia to miss their crucial World Cup qualifier against China in Kunming, Southwest this Wednesday.
Part of the Australian team arrived here on Sunday and the most eyecatching player on the training ground this afternoon was fast winger Harry Kewell from Liverpool.
The Dutch Pim Verbeek's side must face the tough clash without Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Mile Sterjovski after confirming defensive midfielder Brett Emerton's quit on Friday.
In their respective European leagues on the weekend, Cahill was replaced in the 12th minute due to recurring foot hurt and Sterjovski sustained a groin pain as a result of a bad tackle. Besides, powerful center-forward Kennedy missed his weekend's show again for Karlsruhe in Bundesliga.
Australia, who took part in the Asian zone qualifiers for the first time, whitewashed 2006 Asiad champions Qatar 3-0 at home in their first group match, while China earned a 1-1 away tie with 2007 Asian champions Iraq.
Having come away from an embarrassing 0-0 draw at Singapore on Saturday night, the socceroos will meet the challenge from Serb Dujkovic's side on a nearly 1,895-meter-height altiplano. However, Verbeek didn't worry about the physical conditions of his players.
"We will not be concerned too much about the geographical impacts on us as we have prepared seriously enough for the Wednesday's match. I'm sure my players will show their due performance to strive for a victory," said the confident Dutch after landing at the airport. He also disclosed that other competitive players from Europe would come in succession on Monday.
According to the official website of Australia Football Fedration, the final squad that will be in Kunming are: Michael Beauchamp, Mark Bresciano, Mark Bridge, David Carney, Ante Covic, Jason Culina, Bruce Djite, Vince Grella, Adam Griffiths, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Harry Kewell, Patrick Kisnorbo, Scott McDonald, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire.
(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2008)