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Socceroos likely to face Croatia in final pre-World Cup friendly

Written By The Tambadau on Friday, January 24, 2014 | 2:40 AM


The Socceroos look set to face Croatia in their crucial final warm-up match in Brazil a week before they kick off their World Cup campaign.

The Socceroos will play two international warm-up clashes in the host nation before their tournament opener against Chile on 13 June.

The Croatian Football Federation website appeared to confirm the fixture, but a Football Federation Australia (FFA) spokesman told AAP on Friday the deal was not quite done.

The FFA hopes to confirm the fixture in coming days.

"We are in advanced negotiations with Croatia as well as some other nations about matches against the Socceroos in the lead-up to the World Cup," the spokesman said. "But the match is not yet confirmed."

The Croatian FA website on Thursday reported the fixture as a certainty.

"Croatia and Australia will play a friendly match on 6 June 2014 in Brazil, which will be the final game for both national sides before the World Cup," the website said.

"The venue will be confirmed at a later date."

Boasting the likes of Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric, Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic and a host of English Premier League stars in their line-up, Croatia will provide a stern test for the Socceroos.

It is the first time the two nations will meet since the dramatic 2-2 draw in Stuttgart at the 2006 World Cup when Harry Kewell's decisive late equaliser clinched a second-round berth for Australia.

Croatia play the opening game of the tournament against hosts Brazil in Sao Paulo, a day before Australia meet Chile in Cuiaba.

The Socceroos' next match will be their friendly on 5 March in Europe, with an opponent yet to be confirmed.

Australia will then play their farewell game at Sydney's ANZ Stadium in late May before departing for Brazil.

While Scotland and Sweden were initially touted as possible opponents, if the Croatia match is confirmed it looks likely Ange Postecoglou's side will face a non-European team in the send-off match.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jan/17/socceroos-croatia-friendly-world-cup?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487
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