Socceroos first to touch down in SA for World Cup

2010-05-26 00:00

AUSTRALIA’S national football team is the first visiting side competing in next month’s Fifa World Cup tournament to arrive in the country.

The Socceroos will touch down at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni this morning, where they will be met by Danny Jordaan and other Local Organising Committee (LOC) members.

Australia will be based at Kloofzicht Lodge near Muldersdrift on the West Rand, and will play their tournament opener at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium against Germany on June 13.

Australian coach Pim Verbeek has not yet named his final 23-man squad for the tournament, but has trimmed it down to 28. He said that the five players who do not make the final squad on June 1 will still be kept on in South Africa for the duration of the tournament.

Verbeek said he is looking forward to the tournament. “It will be a fantastic World Cup for me. There is no doubt about that,” he said.

The team arrive in Johannesburg tomorrow for a training camp to cover their final preparations before the tournament begins. The Socceroos are scheduled to play friendlies against Denmark on June 1 and the U.S. on June 5.

The Witness spoke to Local Organising Committee spokesperson Richard Mkhondo, who said there is a great excitement surrounding Australia’s arrival in the country. “We are very excited that the World Cup is finally beginning. The arrival of the first side is a sign that we are under way,” he said.

Brazil will be the second team to arrive in the country, some 24 hours after the Australians. The Danes will arrive on Saturday.

May 26: Australia

May 27: Brazil

May 29: Denmark

May 30: Argentina

May 31: U.S.

June 1: Korea DPR

June 3: England, Paraguay

June 4: Mexico, Chile

June 5: France, Korea Republic, Uruguay, Nigeria

June 6: Japan, The Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand, Greece, Algeria

June 7: Germany, Ghana, Slovenia

June 8: Serbia

June 9: Cameroon, Italy, Honduras, Slovakia

June 10: Côte d’Ivoire, Switzerland

June 11: Spain

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