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Rusty Australia ring changes for Greece games

TAGS: Soccer

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou will ring the changes for the Socceroos' friendlies against Greece following their 2-1 defeat to England on Friday as he tries new combinations for the next round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Australia will be reinforced by talismanic striker Tim Cahill and a number of Asia-based stalwarts for the Greece matches in Sydney on Saturday and Melbourne next week.

"The England game was a real challenging one for us," Postecoglou told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"Not because of just the players who were missing but (also) half the team hadn't played for close to four or five weeks.

"So to play the kind of football we want -- high-intensity, high-pressure -- it was always going to be a challenge.

"With the Asian guys we'll get a natural lift and a natural buzz.

"Even if we didn't have the short turnaround, we would have used these games to try and have a look at as much of the squad as we can," Postecoglou added.

"But with the short turnaround most definitely we'll make a number of changes for the second game.

"These are the last opportunities for me to have a look at some players."

Apart from Cahill and fellow China-based striker Apostolos Giannou, Postecoglou's attacking arsenal will be boosted by forwards Mathew Leckie and Nathan Burns.

China-based defenders Trent Sainsbury and Ryan McGowan will also be available to bolster a backline that was often stretched by England.

Asian Cup champions Australia topped their group in the last round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and face Iraq in their opening match of Asia's Group B in the next phase on Sept. 1.

[Reuters]

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