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Osieck: East Asian Cup was valuable

29 July 2013-AAP

Australia Socceroos Holger Osieck East Asian Cup

Worthwhile exercise ... Holger Osieck (Getty Images)

Australia may have finished at the bottom of the table but Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has declared his East Asian Cup fact-finding mission accomplished.

Australia's forgettable campaign ended with another loss at Seoul Olympic Stadium on Sunday, its 4-3 defeat to China leaving it with just one point from a possible nine.

Ironically that one point came from Australia's worst performance - a 0-0 draw with Korea Republic - having also lost 3-2 to Japan at the four-nation tournament Osieck labelled as the start of Australia's 2014 FIFA World Cup preparations.

Nineteen of the 23 players who travelled to South Korea play in the A-League, so competing out of season against countries where leagues are in full swing was always going to be a struggle.

But in the aftermath Osieck was left satisfied he'd acquired some valuable data about the members of his experimental squad.

"I collected a good deal of information on everybody," he said.

"We wanted to do as well as possible but I needed to get a good idea about the performance level of the players.

"I think it was a valuable experience for all of us to see where they stand and how much work there is ahead to really make it to this level."

Seven players made their Socceroos debut at the tournament, joining a host of fringe players who had a chance to push their FIFA World Cup cause.

And while the likes of Eugene Galekovic, Central Coast Mariners striker Mitchell Duke, new Western Sydney Wanderers signing Tomi Juric, his team-mate Aaron Mooy and China-based defender Ryan McGowan put their hands up at various times over the nine days, several others didn't make an impact.

Osieck admitted 'there definitely have been some pleasant surprises' and singled Duke out for praise.

Asked on Sunday if any player had worked their way into his reckoning he said: "Definitely.

"The performance of Mitchell Duke. He's a very promising young boy."

Socceroos regulars Mark Milligan, Archie Thompson, Matt McKay largely didn't feature.

But while Osieck had warned 'no final positions are locked away' for Brazil, he also assured the senior members of the squad they hadn't harmed their prospects of future selection.

"You're not at your best every day, but I know what I can expect from them and no, I wouldn't say that anybody has left a negative impression," he said.

Looking ahead Osieck said he plans to use all six international friendly windows available before the 2014 FIFA World Cup in June and aims to have settled on a previsional squad of 30 players after the last international in March.

"The World Cup is the target, so for the boys this was an opportunity to show and I have the opportunity to assess," Osieck said.

"There's going to be a couple of more games coming up and a couple of other players will be invited, that will gives me another good look.

"So by the latest March there will be no room for any experiments anymore."

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