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The Socceroos (Soccer Gear) will play Czech Republic on Friday, 1 June at St. Polten NV Arena close to Vienna, Austria and Hungary on Saturday, 9 June at Groupama Arena in Budapest.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today also confirmed that Bert van Marwijk’s squad will be based in Turkey, specifically the coastal city of Antalya between May 19 and June 7.

After playing Hungary, the Socceroos will travel to their base camp in Russia (AK Bars, Kazan) on June 10 ahead of their Group C opener against ‘Les Blues’ at the Kazan Arena on June 16.

This week Australia will face Norway and Colombia in friendlies that are clearly aimed at preparing the side for their other Group C opponents – Denmark and Peru.

The confirmation of these matches and the camp in Turkey means Australia will not play a farewell game like it has done prior to the past three World Cups – against Greece in 2006, against New Zealand in 2010 and against South Africa in 2014.

FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said many national associations were contacted regarding the potential of playing a farewell match against the Caltex Socceroos in Australia in late May, recognising that such a match would require most of the Australian squad to travel back from Europe and Asia to participate.

“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 day after arriving in Russia, Australia will host a free open training session at its training base in Kazan, the Stadium Trudovye Rezervy.

500 tickets for the training session will be reserved for Australian supporters already in Russia, while 4,500 seats at the venue will be reserved for Kazan locals to experience the thrill of the FIFA World Cup in their city.

Socceroos Head Coach van Marwijk believes the team’s pre-camp base in Turkey will provide the perfect environment to prepare Australia’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

“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 Championship.”

 

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