Holger Osieck won’t see too many familiar faces when he surveys the Canadian roster to meet his Socceroos on Oct. 15 at London’s Craven Cottage.
Osieck, now in charge of 53rd-ranked Australia, managed Canada from 1998 to 2003. Most famously he led “Holger’s Heroes” to victory in the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, earning the Canadians a trip to Japan for the Confederations Cup.
When he stepped down after a disastrous 2003 Gold Cup, the no-nonsense German coach left with a record of 20-17-9.
The Canadian men, currently ranked 106th in the world, are now under the guidance of newly appointed manager Benito Floro.
Frank Yallop, Dale Mitchell, and Stephen Hart filled the gap between Osieck and Floro, with Colin Miller and Tony Fonseca doing interim duty.
Of the Floro roster announced Wednesday for the London exhibition match, only goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld remains from the last Canadian starting 11 fielded by Osieck in that 2003 Gold Cup.
Striker Iain Hume and midfielder Atiba Hutchinson are also in the Floro squad. They came on as a substitutes in the second half of the 2-0 loss to Cuba that proved to be Canada’s swansong at the tournament.
Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario was also part of the Osieck era, although he was injured for the 2003 tournament. Midfielder Julian de Guzman was allowed to stay with his German club side. All four are in Floro’s squad.
Australia, whose lineup features such veterans as goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, defender Lucas Neill and striker Tim Cahill, booked its ticket to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a 1-0 victory over Iraq in June. Canada failed, once again, in its qualifying bid.
Australia will play France in Paris on Oct. 11 before meeting Canada. Cahill will equal Peter Wilson’s record of 60 matches as Socceroos captain if he skippers the team against both France and Canada.
The Canada game will offer some new players a chance to shine, Osieck says.
“If they do well, they have the opportunity to stay. And if they don’t do well, I will look for other people,” he said in an interview on the Football Federation Australia website.
The Australians were thrashed 6-0 last month in Brazil in their last outing.
“What we learned definitely is that we still have a long way to go” Osieck said. “We played a top-class opponent, probably one of the best teams in the world, on their home soil and at that stage our team was not ready.”
Floro’s 21-man roster for the Australia game features seven MLS players, including four from Toronto FC: defenders Ashtone Morgan and Doneil Henry and midfielders Kyle Bekker and Jonathan Osorio. Midfielder-forward Russell Teibert comes from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Australia game falls in FIFA’s international match window Nov. 15 to 19.
Still, Portland captain Will Johnson is not on the roster. The Timbers, who are in the thick of the playoff race in MLS’s Western Conference, have games Oct. 13 and 19.
The Canadian Soccer Association said Johnson was not called in “for personal reasons.”
All 21 players selected featured in Floro’s first camp – in Spain last month – as Canadian manager. Canada played No. 150 Mauritania twice during that camp, losing 1-0 and tying 0-0.
Canada last played Australia in a 1993 World Cup qualifier when Canada was eliminated from contention on penalty kicks.
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