- POSTED: 23 Jun 2014 17:27
Australian manager Ange Postecoglou believes his side have plenty to prove against dethroned world champions Spain on Monday despite both sides having already been eliminated from the World Cup.
CURITIBA, Brazil: Spain will take to the pitch at midnight (Singapore time) for their final match of what's been an unexpectedly poor World Cup campaign for the reigning champions.
Spain will take on Australia in Curitiba, a modern and multicultural city.
Curitiba is considered one of the most liveable and ethnically diverse cities in Brazil.
About a century ago, a large wave of Japanese migrants settled into the area. Now, there are tens of thousands of Japanese descendants there.
Curitiba is renowned for its sustainable development, large amounts of green space and effective infrastructure.
So it came as a surprise that of all the host cities for the World Cup in Brazil, Curitiba's stadium nearly did not make it in time.
Just weeks before the start of the tournament, there was speculation that the matches there would have to be re-located.
The pitch surface has been heavily criticised and was badly torn up after just two matches.
Local residents said they were disappointed with the four matches being hosted in the city.
Both sides preparation has been disrupted as they weren't able to train at the Arena da Baixada on Sunday as is normal 24 hours before the game due to the bad state of the pitch in Curitiba.
The stadium has played host to Nigeria's 0-0 draw with Iran and Ecuador's 2-1 win over Honduras in the past week with Russia's final Group H game against Algeria also to come on Thursday.
"The pitch hasn't recovered from the last game and from our perspective the better condition the pitch is in tomorrow the better," said Australian manager Ange Postecoglou.
Of the very top sides competing in World Cup, only Spain is playing there, and after a disastrous campaign, their upcoming match against Australia is already a dead rubber -- both sides failing to reach the round of 16.
The weary Spaniards have some pride to restore though against an inexperienced but inspired Socceroos outfit.
For Curitiba locals and travelling fans, this could be the swan song for the likes of Xavi, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso.
Postecoglou, however, believes his side have plenty to prove against dethroned world champions Spain despite both sides having already been eliminated from the World Cup.
In contrast to Spain's disastrous defence of their title, Australia come into the game having been encouraged by their performances despite losing to Chile and the Netherlands in their opening two games.
And Postecoglou thinks registering just the Socceroos third ever World Cup win would send a message that this young Australian side can go onto greater things, firstly at the Asian Cup on home soil next year, and at the World Cup in four years time.
"I don't think we've got nothing to play for, I think we've got plenty to play for," he said.
"I have already said that this is our fourth World Cup and we've only won two World Cup games, so if we are going to make an effort to improve and become the nation we want to become we need to start winning games at this level.
"We've got plenty of motivation, it's far from a dead rubber for us and the fact that we are putting out a young team tomorrow is not because we are trying to experiment, we are putting out the team we think can win the game.
"Who is to know which of us will be here in four years time and I don't want to pass us this opportunity to make a mark on the World Cup. We are very, very motivated for tomorrow."
Australia will have to do without their all-time record goalscorer Tim Cahill, who notched two goals in as many games in the competition, as he is suspended, whilst Mark Bresciano and Mark Milligan are injury doubts.