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International Friendly Preview: Canada - Australia
International Friendly Preview: Canada - Australia

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International Friendly Preview: Canada - Australia

Canada was days away from facing a former manager for the first time ever, but instead Benito Floro's side will meet an Australia team in disarray.

On Tuesday, the two nations square off in a friendly at London's Craven Cottage that was set to be Holger Osieck's first match against Canada since he vacated that nation's head coaching role in 2003, but he was fired by Australia's federation following consecutive 6-0 losses (to Brazil and France, respectively).

Instead, the Aussies will be helmed by Osieck's assistant Aurelio Vidmar. The 46-year-old former Socceroos midfielder -- who faced Canada as a player in a pair of World Cup qualifiers in 1993 -- has taken Australia's coaching duties on an interim basis, with a wide range of high-profile international managers being linked to the permanent job.

On the other side of the pitch, Canada's Spanish head coach Benito Floro will be continuing his task of rebuilding a broken men's national team program. Unlike the Aussies, Canada doesn't have the luxury of a booked ticket to Brazil for next year's World Cup, and will instead rely on a series of training camps and friendlies to try to improve upon a befallen side that faces no competitive fixtures for another two years.

Floro has called in a core of veterans to bolster a host of inexperienced youngsters that will presumably make up much of the national team in the years ahead. Alongside stalwarts Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman are starlets Jonathan Osorio and Russell Teibert, with Floro aiming to have the older players ease the transition for younger prospects.

There are some significant absences from Canada's squad, however. Besiktas midfielder Atiba Hutchinson was forced to leave camp with a minor injury late last week. In addition, defender Dejan Jakovic was summoned by Floro for the match, but he remained with club side D.C. United with a hamstring issue.

Also noticeably absent are Portland Timbers captain Will Johnson and 20-year-old Uruguayan-based striker Lucas Cavallini, both of whom have yet to train under Floro since the Spaniard took the reins after the Gold Cup. 

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