THE Socceroos won’t play their traditional home farewell match in the lead-up to the World Cup, with a training camp and a pair of international friendlies preferred.
The FFA have confirmed that Bert van Marwijk’s men will face the Czech Republic on 1 June at St Polten NV Arena near Vienna and Hungary at Groupama Arena in Budapest on June 9 as their final matches before the World Cup.
A base will be set up in Antalya, Turkey between May 19 and June 7 as the squad undertake an intensive pre-camp punctuated by the pair of friendlies.
FFA Chief Executive David Gallop stated that a range of national associations were contacted in the hope of scheduling a farewell match on home sail in late May, however a clash could not be organised.
“On this occasion, particularly given the need to adapt to the unusual late change in our Head Coach, his plans and the relatively short amount of time he has to prepare the team, we decided that the benefits of remaining in Europe outweighed the benefits of hosting any of the possible farewell matches in Australia,” Gallop said.
“While we know Australian fans would have loved to see the team on home soil once more before the World Cup, our absolute priority has to be optimising our chances for a world class performance at the tournament.”
The announcement also confirmed an open training session in Kazan the day after the squad arrive in Russia, with 500 tickets reserved for Aussie supporters in Russia while 4500 tickets will be go to Kazan locals.
Van Marwijk believes that a Turkish pre-camp is the ‘perfect environment’ for the squad’s preparations.
“Earlier this month Socceroos staff assessed a range of potential pre-camp bases across southern Europe,” van Marwijk said.
“The facilities and climate available in Antalya in May and June were second to none, so I am delighted that we will be able to spend a significant period in Turkey to prepare our players for Russia.
“Playing Czech Republic and Hungary will give us critical game time to complement our training schedule, and I am thankful to the FFA and David Gallop for helping to provide the best possible preparation for the team leading into the FIFA World Cup.”
Australia kick off their World Cup campaign against France on June 16.
The friendlies against the Czech Republic and Hungary will both be shown LIVE on Fox Sports.