Crikey’s
World Cup correspondents Greg Horgan & Simon Ainsworth write:

Australia’s
game against Holland this Sunday is
effectively Australia’s
last competitive warm-up match before its opening World Cup match with Japan
on June 12. In between the two matches, Australia
will play Liechtenstein
in (hopefully) a confidence booster for the Socceroos and a chance for Hiddink
to cement his preferred starting XI.

Holland is a class team
and is tipped by many to dazzle in the tournament – they’re equal sixth
favourite with Spain
and France on
most betting websites.

So what can we expect on Sunday? Dutch coach and former striking superstar
Marco Van Basten prefers a 4-3-3 formation with an attack led by Manchester
United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy with Arjen Robben (Chelsea) and Robin Van Persie
(Arsenal) supporting him from the wings.

In
choosing his World Cup squad Van Basten took the hard line by ending the
international careers of veterans Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf, leaving
Mark van Bommel (Barcelona), Philip Cocu (PSV) and Rafael Van der Vaart
(Hamburg) to lead the midfield in Germany. Apart from Giovanni Van Bronckhorst,
their defence is similarly anonymous, with no place for Milan’s veteran Jaap
Stam.

Indeed, Australia’s
defence will need to prove they can hold off a multi-pronged attack. Should
they finish the Holland game with no
goals conceded, hopes will be high that they can also thwart Brazil’s
attacking play in the tournament proper.

Hiddink will most probably stick with his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and
most of his preferred XI. One position
that is still up for grabs is the goalkeeper. With Zeljko Kalac playing the
whole game against Greece
it is expected that Hiddink will hand the gloves back to Mark Schwarzer to keep
both keepers vying for the coveted spot right up until the Japan
match.

Here’s the likely line-up:

Schwarzer

Emerton – Neil – Moore
– Chipperfield

Grella – Culina

Bresciano – Skoko – Sterjovski

Viduka

Against Holland’s attacking
trio, defensive midfielders Culina and Grella will have huge role to play in
front of the back four – one they will have to repeat when we play Brazil.

Peter Fray

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