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Switzerland vs Australia

4 September 2010-AAP

Socceroos held by Swiss

Stalemate... Socceroos midfielder Carl Valeri in action against Switzerland (Getty)

Australia has begun life under new coach Holger Osieck with an entertaining 0-0 friendly draw against an understrength Switzerland in St Gallen.

Australian captain Lucas Neill said before the match the players had been trying too hard in training to impress their new boss and it appeared a little bit that way at the AFG Arena.

Switzerland showed during the FIFA World Cup in June that it is extremely hard to break down with only one goal conceded and Australia was unable to find the back of the net.

Australia was, in fact, a bit lucky to get away with a draw with Switzerland skipper Alexander Frei missing a penalty in the 60th minute.

The Socceroos meet Euro 2012 co-host Poland in another friendly on Wednesday morning (AEST) in Krakow.

Osieck played two men up front in his first game on board with the recalled Scott McDonald joining Tim Cahill in the forward line.

With one eye on Wednesday morning's (AEST) Euro 2012 qualifier against England in Basel, the home side rested about half of its regular starting lineup.

Both sides had their chances early on with skipper Lucas Neill blazing over from point blank range from a Cahill header in the 10th minute.

A minute later the Swiss should have scored with Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer saving the day by slapping away Albert Bunkaju's shot from close range.

The Swiss targeted Australia's left side of defence with David Carney being kept busy as the home side kept on getting in behind the Socceroos' defensive line.

Brett Emerton, clearly busting for a run after spending most of the past few weeks on the bench for Blackburn, provided some quality and was a handful down the right flank.

McDonald, yet to score for the Socceroos in 17 appearances for the national team, will never have a better chance to open his account than the open goal he somehow missed in the 41st minute.

Another great chance went begging for the Middlesbrough man just before the halftime break as his wait for an international strike continued.

Schwarzer was called into action only moments after the break and just got his fingertips to push Xavier Margairaz's header to safety.

The Swiss should have gained the lead in the 60th minute after Neill pushed David Degan in the penalty area.

With Schwarzer going the wrong way, Frei's shot clipped the bar and went over, the home crowd of more than 14,000 letting him know all about it.

Neill was shown a yellow card.

Substitute Dario Vidosic almost grabbed a winner in the 83rd minute but his header was knocked away by Swiss goalkeeper Marco Wolfi.

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