The Australian national football team officially kicked off their World Cup preparations in Melbourne yesterday with a light training run in front of about 1500 fans at AAMI Park.
The full 31-man preliminary squad was on hand, first for a team photo including all of the support staff, followed by a training session that only put the players through their paces rather than get into top gear.
The Socceroos are in town for Monday night’s international World Cup send-off friendly with neighbours New Zealand at the MCG and there will be plenty of jockeying for positions as the squad try to impress coach Pim Verbeek before he trims his squad to its final 23 by June 1.
Veteran Scott Chipperfield, striker Josh Kennedy and midfielder Brett Emerton were restricted to even lighter duties than the rest of the squad but are all expected to play some part against the All Whites whilst the injury-prone Harry Kewell got through most of the session but it was hard to gauge whether the session really tested him.
The Socceroos will hold at least one training session every day up until Monday’s match before leaving for South Africa mid next week.