FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Australia v Iraq
By Football News
Brett Holman has claimed Australia's confidence is high heading into their critical FIFA World Cup qualifier against Iraq on Tuesday.
Australia will host Iraq at Sydney's ANZ Stadium in Group B of the AFC qualifying section knowing a win will ensure a third-consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals.
And midfielder Holman reckons stability in the starting line-up has seen the Socceroos find form at the vital point of their campaign to reach Brazil 2014.
Holger Osieck's team headed to Japan a fortnight ago knowing they would need at least six points from their three remaining matches to qualify automatically for next year's showpiece in South America.
And after a well-earned 1-1 draw with pool leaders and an impressive 4-0 demolition of Jordan in Melbourne last week, Australia are now on the verge of qualification.
Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Lucas Neill all scored at the Etihad Stadium as the hosts pulled Jordan apart and Holman hopes Osieck will pick the same starting line-up against Iraq.
"Obviously the Japan game was a great result and we worked hard and we defended really well," the Aston Villa man said.
"I think you saw in the Jordan game that it just clicked a little bit more and obviously when you play more games with the same personnel it always helps because you know what type of players they are.
"Obviously (Iraq) have got nothing to play for any more but they'll come out and try to wreck the party a little bit.
"We'll try to be ready like we were in Melbourne (against Jordan) and be on our toes and start from minute one.
"We know what we've got to do and I think the last two games showed how well we're doing at the moment and that gives us a lot of confidence and it shows."
Iraq lost 1-0 at home to Japan last week, ending their chances of a ticket to Brazil, but they could ruin the Socceroos' plans as a point or three for Vladimir Petrovic's side would open the door for Oman to leapfrog Australia with a win in Jordan.
But Osieck should be confident with the Iraqis having lost four of their past five games.
Furthermore, veterans Younis Mahmoud and Nashat Akram have pulled out of Tuesday's match due to disagreements with the Iraq Football Association, and attacking midfielder Alaa Abdul-Zahra is suspended after being sent off against Japan.