World Cup news

Schwarzer desperate to avoid 'disaster'

March 20, 2013
By ESPN staff

Mark Schwarzer says Australia must defeat Oman next Tuesday to avoid "a disaster" in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, as he prepares to take the captain's armband from the suspended Lucas Neill.

Mark Schwarzer
GettyImagesMark Schwarzer represented Australia at the past two World Cups

Schwarzer and the Socceroos currently sit in second position in the Group B qualification standings, eight points behind leaders Japan with a game in hand, but level with Oman and Iraq.

The Fulham goalkeeper, who is confirmed as skipper for the match, believes Australia's lengthy preparation can help them to a victory similar to the dramatic 2-1 triumph over Iraq in their last qualifier.

"Anything less than three points will be a disaster for us," Schwarzer explained. "This seven or eight days we have now to prepare for the game is vital, it's fantastic we've got this time together as a team, the last time we did it like this was against Iraq, which was a very successful event.

"Our focus and our determination now is to try and repeat that result. Hopefully it will be a little bit more comfortable, but I think it will be a very, very tough task for us."

Meanwhile, Rhys Williams believes coach Holger Osieck has selected the right blend of youth and experience in what he feels is a "must-win" fixture.

"It's a big game for us, it's a must-win and we expect to win as well, but it's not going to be easy. Holger has brought along a lot of big players and lot of strong characters and it's a game that we need to win to progress.

"I've met a few boys for the first time. I feel like an older head now, even though I'm 24. It's good to have them in, it's good to have the right mix with 'Schwarzie', Luke (Wilkshire) and Timmy (Cahill), so that's good for the younger boys to look up to the older ones and learn a lot about what it means to play for your country."