Nabbout, Leckie star as Socceroos defeat Czech Republic

Andrew Nabbout has put his name forward for a role at the World Cup as the Socceroos defeated the Czech Republic 4-0 in Austria on Friday.

Mathew Leckie scored the first and third goals for Bert van Marwijk’s side in their first of two tune-up friendlies before leaving for Russia.

Australia started an XI close to full strength, with only Mike Jedinak and Tomi Juric the regulars missing from the XI as Nabbout was placed at the top of a 4-3-3 formation.

Mark Milligan played central defence alongside Trent Sainsbury, who captained the side, as Aaron Mooy and Massimo Luongo patrolled the midfield behind Tom Rogic.

Left-back Aziz Behich started brightly but it was right-back Josh Risdon who lobbed in the cross that produced the Socceroos’ first goal.

Tom Rogic fed the Western Sydney Wanderers player, who sent a ball to the far post for Robbie Kruse to head back into the path of Leckie.

Nabbout’s first goal for the Socceroos came after he regained possession and drove a hard, flat shot past the goalkeeper.

Two of the Socceroos’ goal scorers. Pic: Getty

He is almost certain to head to Russia after van Marwijk’s previous comments that he had no time for experiments.

The Dutchman will cut four players by Monday to form his final 23-man squad, with late addition Jamie Maclaren, Jackson Irvine, Dimi Petratos, Milos Degenek – who had a cross deflected into the net for Australia’s first goal – and debutant Daniel Arzani making appearances off the bench.

It remains to be seen if Tim Cahill is in danger of missing out, with the likes of James Troisi, Fran Karacic, Nikitia Rukavytsya and Josh Brillante likely sweating it out over the weekend.

The win was Australia’s first success outside home soil since September 2016, 12 matches ago.

Australia will face Hungary in Budapest next Saturday before moving on to Kazan, the Russian city where they will open their World Cup campaign against France on June 16.

with AAP