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'Do or die' for goal-shy Aussie football team
Published : 05 Feb 2012 05:46:44Rss feed
Australia have admitted it's "do or die" for their Olympic chances as they search for their long-lost scoring touch in far-flung Uzbekistan on Sunday.
The Aussies, accompanied by their own team chef as they visit the pool leaders, are languishing in third spot in Group B after failing to find the net even once in their three matches so far.
However, the "Olyroos" are also yet to concede, leaving them just two points shy of Uzbekistan, who have five. Second-placed Iraq, on four points, play United Arab Emirates in Doha.
Coach Aurelio Vidmar said it was make or break for Australia as they go into this month's double-header, with another round of games scheduled for February 21 and 22.
The top teams from the three groups gain an automatic ticket to London 2012, while the second-placed sides enter a round-robin event in Vietnam to earn a play-off against an African nation.
"The next two games for us are certainly do or die," Vidmar told the Football Federation Australia website. "It'll be tough because Uzbekistan away is never an easy game, but I still think this group (of players) can do it."
Vidmar added Australia were travelling with their own chef to avoid any stomach problems in the Central Asian country, after a 2008 AFC Champions League visit with Adelaide United, where he was assistant coach.
"Given the history of going there, you try to avoid players getting sick," said Vidmar. "When we went to the Champions League we took a chef from Adelaide, so we will do it again.
"The chef will get there a couple of days before us and make sure everything is prepared and ready to go."
Group A pace-setters South Korea are under renewed pressure after Qatar's punishment for fielding an ineligible player left Oman just one point off the lead.
November's 1-1 draw was erased and replaced with a 3-0 victory for Oman after Qatar played midfielder Abdelaziz Hatim, who was suspended for the match for picking up two yellow cards earlier in qualifying.
Qatar are now five points back from South Korea in third place, ahead of their home leg against Oman in Doha. South Korea travel to bottom-placed Saudi Arabia.
In Group C, leaders Japan will seek their fourth win out of four when they play Syria away, while Malaysia are looking for their first points of qualifying when they take on Bahrain in Manama.
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