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Sport Juric thirsty for Hungary minutes pre-Cup

05:30  07 june  2018
05:30  07 june  2018 Source:

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Australia striker Tomi Juric.© Getty Images Australia striker Tomi Juric. Tomi Juric has put his hand up to return to Socceroos action in Australia's friendly with Hungary, the Socceroos' last tune-up before heading to Russia for the World Cup.

The Socceroos wrap up their hot-weather training camp in Antalya on Thursday, deemed so successful that coach Bert van Marwijk gave his players the final full day off.

One last run under the Turkish sun awaits the Socceroos before they board flights to Hungary ahead of Saturday's clash (Sunday 1.30am AEST).

The only slight drama was the aggravation of Juric's knee injury.

That was deemed so serious that van Marwijk rejigged his training group, bringing in Jamie Maclaren from holiday and retaining him for the tournament.

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Breaking his silence after the injury which has thrown the World Cup striking spot wide open, Juric revealed that he was hoping for minutes in Sunday's friendly against Hungary after sitting out the Czech Republic rout.

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Juric insists his patella problem should be seen as a niggle, rather than something that will cost him the chance to play at his first World Cup.

"It's not bad, it's just annoying," he said.

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Breaking his silence after the injury which has thrown the World Cup striking spot wide open, Juric revealed that he was hoping for minutes in Sunday's friendly against Hungary after sitting out the Czech Republic rout.

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"It's nothing otherwise I wouldn't be here.

"It's a maintenance thing I have to stay on top of ... I'll get a little bit of a break after the World Cup, when hopefully it settles down fully."

Juric said he felt the aggravation of the injury, first suffered at Swiss club side Luzern, under the intensity of the double sessions in the hot-weather camp and knew it was time to back off.

"Now, I feel better. A lot better," he said.

"I've been training fully for a week ... I'm sweet and ready to go."

The 26-year-old's declaration of fitness comes with the hope that he will return to his previous role as Australia's first-choice No.9.

Andrew Nabbout's remarkable rise and goal against Czech Republic last week suggests the unheralded Urawa Red Diamonds forward is a possible starter against France.

Then there's Maclaren, who also possesses van Marwijk's favourite attribute - pace - and all-time leading Socceroos scorer Tim Cahill.

Juric was former coach Ange Postecoglou's clear favourite up top but it seems the race to lead the line against France will remain an open question until the June 16 opener.

"I wouldn't mind (starting against Hungary) to be honest, it'd be nice to get back onto the park a bit longer and get some minutes under the belt before the tournament," he said.

"Obviously it's a confidence thing as well to get it out of the way and get the legs going.

"I felt quite sharp in the last training. I hit the back of the net a couple of times and it's always a good feeling.

"As for the other guys, that is what it is.

"I've just got to go with the flow. I give everything, everything I can on the park ... I can only control what I do on the pitch."

Juric pays the penalty at Roos training .
A light-hearted shooting competition in the lead-up to Australia's World Cup opener with France on Saturday was typical of training under Bert van Marwijk.Spirits remain high in the Socceroos camp, with Bert van Marwijk overseeing a first training session with the entire 23-man squad in Kazan on Tuesday.

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