Neill promises respect ahead of Iraq clash

Australia captain Lucas Neill claims Australia will not be taking anything for granted as they look to seal World Cup qualification against Iraq in Sydney.

Lucas Neill, Australia

Victory would guarantee the hosts second place in Asian qualifying Group B and a spot in Brazil next summer, while a draw or even a defeat could still be enough, depending on third-placed Oman's result away to Jordan.

Oman are a point behind the Socceroos, with Jordan two points further back, ahead of the final match day in the fourth round of qualifying.

Australia, taking on the pool's bottom side, are the firm favourites to keep hold of second spot and join group winners Japan in Brazil, but Neill knows they cannot afford to take things easy.

"There are no easy games in football, any opponent on any level needs to be respected, just because you are not educated enough about them doesn't mean they are not good," the experienced defender said on the Football Federation Australia website.

"We have never underestimated any of our opponents. Arguably we have not played at our best, but every game is a hard game.

"Everybody is very calm. The manager and the senior players have made sure no one is talking about dancing the samba. No one is in Brazil yet and the fact is we need one game, one win, then we can start thinking about all the dreams coming true."

Australia have come in for criticism for some of their performances in qualifying so far - they have won just two of seven games in the current stage - but coach Holger Osieck is glad to have their fate in their own hands.

"We are in the position we would have liked and we can determine our position ourselves," he said.

"The team is very much aware of it and we are 100 per cent focused."

Oman know avoiding defeat in Jordan will be enough to at least earn them third place and a two-legged play-off against the third-placed team in Group A for the chance to go into a final play-off against the fifth-placed team in South American qualifying.

The top two places in Group A are still up for grabs, with South Korea in pole position to take top spot.

They head the pool by a point from Iran and need just a draw at home to their rivals to ensure first place. Defeat is also unlikely to deny them qualification, given they are three points ahead of third-placed Uzbekistan with a comfortable goal difference advantage.

Iran need a win to guarantee qualification, although a draw should be sufficient, while Uzbekistan need to win at home to Qatar and hope the other result goes their way to finish any higher than third.

With fourth-placed Qatar four points behind them, though, Uzbekistan know they at least have the play-offs to fall back on.



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