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Grella hoping to kick clear of Japan

Socceroos midfielder Vince Grella is hoping for a win over Japan in tomorrow night's World Cup qualifier. A win would see the Aussies go five points clear of the Japanese and give them a handy buffer going into the second round of matches.

"Japan are our biggest rivals in Asia. We're two points ahead of them in our qualifying group, so there's plenty at stake," Grella told goldcoast.com.au.

Grella has less than fond memories of his last clash against Japan when he was sent off and is hoping that the referee can take control of the Japanese players who tend to play for free-kicks.

"I'm the wrong person to be asking that question. We'll just have to keep faith in the referee," he added.

The Blackburn Rovers hard man also made mention of the rivalry that is starting to take place between the two nations.

"It's started to become a big game in Asia, and we like that, and I think they like it as well," he said.

"Their journalists are jumping all over us, but we're up for the game.

"We've always had tough games against them. We beat them at the World Cup but lost to them at the Asian Cup.

"It's slowly becoming a heated game, a bit of rivalry there.

"The Italian half of me would be happy with a draw, but I don't think it's in the Australian DNA to accept a draw.

"But if the final whistle says it's a draw we'd be happy, going back to Europe with 10 points in our group."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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