Ange's World Cup warning for Lucas Neill

Ange Postecoglou is unfazed by the growing crisis at one of the Socceroos' World Cup venues which is tipped to be dropped by FIFA later this week after construction work at Curitiba stadium fell way behind schedule.

Australia are scheduled to face Spain at the unfinished stadium on June 23 and speculation has been growing in Brazil that FIFA are about to axe the venue from World Cup fixtures after it again failed to meet yet another deadline for building work.

But today Socceroos coach Postecoglou was unworried about any switch of plans and was focused only on preparing for the tournament as a whole.

"We'll play in the car park if we have to," he said at today's launch of the new Nike Socceroos kit in Sydney. "We can only control what we do and our emphasis is on making sure we are ready for the first game and ready for three games wherever they are played.

"I'll be surprised if there is a change in venue. I was there in December and the stadium was almost complete then, but we'll deal with what we have to. In terms of our planning, nothing really changes. It doesn't really affect us until we get there.

"There's plenty to do between now and then on other things. I reckon with most major tournaments there's usually some dramas. It's part of the story of any major tournament so I won't lose too much sleep over it."

The former Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar coach has just returned from a scouting mission to Europe as he prepares for next month's World Cup warm up against Ecuador where Australia will wear the new 70s-style kit in action for the first time.

But he insisted he was still keeping an open mind on who will take their seat on the plane to Rio...although game-time is vital for anyone wanting to be considered.

Roos skipper Lucas Neill was notable by his absence at today's kit launch, with Mark Bresciano and Michael Zullo modelling the new retro kit in the flesh, while pics of stars like Tom Rogic, Tim Cahill, Tommy Oar, Mathew Leckie and Mark Milligan flashed up on big screens.


And Postecogou left his captain - currently clubless and training with Blackburn Rovers and recently playing for their U21 side - in no doubt about what was needed for him to force his way into squad consideration.

"My main priority is that all our players are playing so whether that's Lucas or anyone else, that's going to be a key thing going into a World Cup," he said. "You don't want to go into a World Cup under done - whether that's individuals or the group as a whole. The more players we have playing regularly and playing well, the happier I am."

And he hinted that he has options in mind to draft in as replacements for anyone who fails to make the grade.

He added: "On my trip overseas, most of the players I was looking at were playing football and playing good football so that made me pretty optimistic about what lies ahead."

Some of those options may find themselves in the squad for the friendly against Ecuador, with Postecoglou tipping a new look to the Socceroos squad for the game in London. Injuries to Robbie Kruse and Rhys Williams have also forced the coach to look at alternatives across the park.

"They were a big blow," Postecoglou admitted. "For the guys personally, the Word Cup is a special time. Every player wants to be involved. Certainly Robbie and Rhys were a big part of what we were building and more importantly they were playing some fantastic football.

"Obviously from a playing perspective for the team, it's a blow, but it gives the opportunity for somebody else.  We've got the March game against Ecuador and we'll be announcing that squad next week.

"I'm really excited about the way we are putting things together. The Ecuador game gives us the chance to try a few things. Certainly I think the team will have little bit of a different look for that game.

"It's probably my last opportunity to try a few things and build the team I want to build so we'll use that game for that sort of exercise and then make some decisions about the World Cup squad beyond that.

"We'll keep an open mind. At the moment, I don't want to rule anyone out because there are some footballers both here and abroad who are starting to play some good football and I want to encourage them to continue to play well and make my decision really difficult."

And he refused to spell out the expectations he has for the team when they reach Brazil.
"I'm not going to dampen people's expectations or ramp them up," he said. "It is a World Cup - our job is to be well-prepared and play to the best of our ability.
"If it means we're playing as underdogs then fantastic - that's usually when we perform at our best."