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Monday, February 27, 2012
Spiranovic cautious of Saudis

Australia defender Matthew Spiranovic is wary of the threat Saudi Arabia will pose when the sides meet in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Frank Rijkaard's side sit second in Group D of Asian World Cup qualifying, with six points, and need to win to book their spot in the next stage.

Anything less than a victory against the already-qualified Socceroos will mean Saudi Arabia will rely on the result between Oman (five points) and Thailand (four points) in Muscat for their progression.

They have been in Australia for more than a week and 3-0 and 6-0 victories against a New Zealand Under-23 side and a New Zealand 'A' team respectively mean Rijkaard's men will be well and truly prepared for the match, something that is not lost on Spiranovic.

"We know that they are a very good team,'' Spiranovic told reporters. "They have everything to play for Wednesday so they'll come out firing. I think they've already been in Melbourne for 10 days so obviously they are taking it very seriously.''

With Australia's qualification assured, manager Holger Osieck has taken the opportunity to include a few uncapped players in camp, with Michael Marrone, Erik Paartalu and Matthew Ryan all selected in the 19-man squad.

But Spiranovic says despite a slight change in personnel, there will be no difference to the team's professional mindset as they look forward to the next stage of qualification on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"We have already qualified for the next round but we are keen to keep the momentum going,'' he said. "We want to come out with three points. As players, we want to be as professional as possible and we are taking this game like any game.

"We don't want to get into any bad habits and we want to continue the things we have done well in our previous games.

"If we can just fine-tune the things that we need to work on in the next round of qualifiers ... we know we'll come up against better opposition as well (in the next stage).''




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