Australia to meet Serbia in Melbourne

MELBOURNE - Australia will meet Serbia in a friendly on June 7 in Melbourne to tune up for their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Thursday.

Australia, who beat Serbia 2-1 in the group stage of the 2010 finals in South Africa in their only previous meeting, are playing New Zealand in Adelaide two days before the Serbia game.

"This is a great opportunity to see the future of the Socceroos as they prepare for the next World Cup qualification process which kicks off in September of this year," FFA CEO Ben Buckley told reporters.

"I think we're going to see the best of the golden generation of players as well as the next generation of Socceroos.

"I know (Serbia) are keen to make amends for the World Cup defeat so we expect a fantastic quality team."

Buckley dismissed suggestions that the match might pose a security threat following past incidents involving Serbian fans brawling with rival Croatian and Bosnian fans at the Australian Open tennis in recent years.

"I'm confident that any fan that comes to the match will be there and participate in the right spirit," he said.

Australia, ranked 20th in the world, failed to make it beyond the group stage in South Africa but have enjoyed some good performances under new German coach Holger Osieck.

The Socceroos reached the final of the Asian Cup in Doha and snatched a 2-1 away win over a second-string Germany side in March to gain a small measure of revenge after being thrashed 4-0 at the World Cup.