'Disaster' fear for Schwarzer against Oman
By Football News
Stand-in captain Mark Schwarzer says it will be a 'disaster' if the Socceroos do not pick up three points against Oman.
Australia takes on Oman in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Sydney but is only just holding on to second spot in Group B.
First and second positions guarantee automatic qualification with the Socceroos under threat from Oman, Iraq and Jordan after Japan has all but secured top position.
Australia, Iraq and Oman are level on five points but the Socceroos have a better goal difference and a game in hand.
"(The Oman game is) a pivotal part of our campaign and we need to pick up three points and any less than three points will be a disaster for us," Schwarzer said.
"We know in general what we are up against and we've obviously played (Oman) on a number of occasions over the years.
"Even though our record is pretty good against them, you still can't take them for granted because they are a country that is emerging and they are going to do whatever they possibly can to try and be one of the teams that qualifies for Brazil 2014."
The 40-year-old goalkeeper was wary of the improvement that the Arab state has had over the past few years.
"They're a talented side and they've got some skilful individual players," Schwarzer said.
"I know the goalkeeper (Ali-Al Habsi) well, who plays for Wigan in the Premiership and I've been able to see him quite a lot over the years.
"I think they're definitely one of the emerging Arab nations in football and they've continuously, consistently got to the final stages of World Cup qualifying campaigns since we've been in Asia.
"We know that they're a team that is getting more and more organised as the years go on and also becoming a better team.
The two teams last met back in June in Muscat, where the Socceroos escaped with a 0-0 draw in oppressive conditions and Schwarzer defended the performance of the side.
"It was one of those games I don't think I'm going to forget for a very, very long time," he said.
"The conditions were horrendous and that's probably the best way to explain them.
"I think it's always difficult from afar watching on a TV screen when you see blue skies and the sun shining and everyone thinks its great conditions to play in.
"It was always a very tall order but in hindsight I think the way we performed was very admirable and I think we deserved to at least come away with a point and overall, because of the condition, we were relatively happy with the result."
The Socceroos snuck a 2-1 victory against Iraq in their last World Cup qualifier in October and the Fulham custodian is hoping that the result can be repeated on Tuesday night.
"Hopefully, (the game) will be a little more comfortable but it's going to be a very tough task for us and as players we are all 100 percent focused on performing and doing our job and preparing for the game on Tuesday," Schwarzer said.
"I think what's also important is how we players play as a team.
"We need to be concerned about the opposition and pay them respect and understand their qualities but we also need to work on our qualities and make sure we are on top of our game and we create them problems."