Australia seeking tough World Cup warm-ups

SYDNEY - The Socceroos are trying to lure a high-profile opponent to Australia next year for a blockbuster friendly before the 2010 World Cup finals.

Football Federation of Australia (FFA) officials have already booked out the 100,000 seater Melbourne Cricket Ground and are hoping their improved standing in the world game will help them attract a top opponent.

"I think there's a realistic chance a team from South America could come to play," FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said on Thursday.

Australia sailed through their final round of the Asian qualifiers to book their place at South Africa but want some tougher matches before the tournament.

They were unbeaten in their first seven matches without conceding a goal then came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in their last game in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"Because we've been unbeaten for quite some time it's important that we get asked questions in the preparation for the World Cup because it's never going to be this smooth sailing forever," Australia captain Lucas Neill said.

"We're actually looking to play against teams now that on paper it looks like we're going to lose."