Socceroos lock in pre-Cup clash with Japan

The Socceroos will round out preparations for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup with a rematch of the 2011 final when they face defending champions Japan in an international friendly in Osaka on November 18.

The match presents an ideal opportunity for Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou to gauge his side's progress against Asia’s number one ranked team before the tournament hits Australian shores in January.

With just over three months until the Cup, the Socceroos head into the home stretch of preparations with a 2-0 loss to Belgium and a scrappy 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia.

A string of friendlies against Asian opposition await with the UAE (October 11) and Qatar (October 15) locked in for next month before the Socceroos face Cup nemesis, the Samurai Blue.

Australia lost the 2011 Asian Cup final to Japan 1-0.

“I’m delighted we have been able to secure a match against Japan in November to finalise our preparations for the Asian Cup,” Postecoglou said. 

“Our aim is to become the best football nation in Asia and Japan is one of nations we will have to overcome to achieve that goal.

“Over the last 12 months we have tested ourselves against some of the world’s best national teams and this game will allow us to challenge ourselves against a quality side, while also taking on another Asian opponent.

“We have taken steps forward throughout the journey over the last 12 months and this game is a significant step in that process.

“The Asian Cup will be a wonderful football festival in front of our own fans all around Australia and presents everyone involved in Australian football; players, coaches and fans alike, with a unique opportunity as we play for silverware on home soil.”

The match sets up the latest chapter in what is fast becoming one of Australia’s greatest sporting rivalries, following the 2006 FIFA World Cup clash, the 2011 Asian Cup Final and the epic 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Saitama and Brisbane, which both ended in 1-1 draws.

In 22 matches stretching back to the 1956 Olympic Games, Japan has won eight matches, the Socceroos claimed seven victories and a further seven have ended in a draw.

The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.

MATCH DETAILS

Japan v Australia
Tuesday 18 November 2014
Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka
Kick off time TBC