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Socceroos boss expecting tough challenge from Ecuador

Australia national team manager Ange Postecoglou is expecting a very stern test when his side takes on Ecuador in an international friendly in early March.

The Socceroos meet La Tri at The Den in London on March 5 and Postecoglou sees it as a very stimulating task as they prepare for the 2014 World Cup against a fellow qualifier.

Australia, who are up against Spain, Holland and Chile in Brazil, are currently placed 53rd in the FIFA rankings while Reinaldo Rueda's Ecuador are 24th in the world.

"Ecuador is a very important game for us," Postecoglou said. "It's the last game (before World Cup squad selection) and it's a quality opponent. Ecuador made the World Cup and it will be a tough challenge for us.

"We started our journey against Costa Rica (in November) and we want to build on that. It was a solid performance and the players backing up from that game would already have had a taste of what we are trying to achieve. For the new ones it's about getting as much information as possible.

"We've done a lot of work in between the Costa Rica game and now with analysis of our own performance and analysis of our opponents and they'll get a lot of information in those two or three days and I'm certainly looking for a strong performance against Ecuador so we continue to build on the positive feeling we had after the Costa Rica game."

Ecuador are captained by Manchester United midfielder Antonio Valencia and the squad consists of Al-Jazira striker Felipe Caicedo (formerly of Man City), Dinamo Moscow midfielder Christian Noboa (club teammate of Socceroos defender Luke Wilkshire), Pachuca veteran Walter Ayovi and attacking midfielder Edison Mendez who has 107 caps for his country.

The South American nation are drawn alongside Switzerland, France and Honduras in Group E of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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