Socceroos land dream friendly against  Brazil

THE Socceroos will have an early chance to become familiar with the surroundings of the 2014 FIFA World Cup when they take on host nation Brazil in a friendly match later this year. Fairfax Media understands Football Federation Australia (FFA) is about to finalise an arrangement with the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) to play a friendly against the five-time world champions on September6.

The two bodies have been negotiating the match for some time, and the deal is set to be announced this week now the Socceroos have qualified for the World Cup. As the date clashes with the intra-Asia play-offs for the tournament, the Socceroos could not have played Brazil had they finished third in their qualifying group.

‘‘We look like we’re locked in for a friendly in Brazil for September and then a number of other friendly windows are open to us,’’ FFA chief executive David Gallop said.

‘‘There’s plenty of opportunity to make sure we do the preparation to put ourselves in the best shape come June 2014.’’ Sao Paulo was initially proposed as the venue, but delays in the construction of a World Cup venue, Arena de Sao Paulo, prompted the CBF to explore others.

The Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo was also suggested, but it is now understood one of the six upgraded venues being used for the Confederations Cup could be the final choice. The Socceroos are likely to face a full-strength Brazilian team as the fixture falls during an international window and just three days before the Selecao play a high-profile friendly against Portugal.

The match will follow the EAFF East Asian Cup campaign in July, in which the Socceroos are taking part. That tournament will provide Australia with their only competitive fixtures between now and the World Cup and could affect the Socceroos’ seeding for the World Cup draw. If successful, Australia, now ranked third behind South Korea and Japan, could emerge as the top seed in Asia.

●Jozy Altidore matched an American record with a goal for the fourth match in a row as the United States beat Honduras 1-0 to stay atop the table in North American qualifying.

SAVIOUR: Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy with fans yesterday. Picture: James Brickwood