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Cornthwaite seizes chance to impress

February 08, 2013 11:29:58 UK

Defender Robert Cornthwaite was one of the players to emerge with credit from Australia's 3-2 defeat to Romania in Malaga.

And his display, highlighted by his 53rd-minute goal to give the Socceroos a 2-1 lead, is likely to earn him an extended run in the team.

He's doing himself a lot of good by coming in and scoring and doing a good job

Mark Schwarzer

The Chunnam Dragons player was handed his opportunity by coach Holger Osieck with a view to the crucial World Cup qualifier against Oman next month.

Captain Lucas Neill is suspended for that clash, and Osieck used the Romania friendly as a chance to audition the former Adelaide United player.

For the second time, Cornthwaite responded in style. In November, on his first international call-up in three years, he scored the winning goal in a friendly against South Korea.

His strike against Romania, which was his third goal in just six internationals, is likely to sway Osieck's mind when he comes to name his side against Oman.

''He's doing himself a lot of good by coming in and scoring and doing a good job,'' goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said of Cornthwaite.

Having gone in front, the Socceroos could not convert a handful of chances and Romania made them pay with late goals to Bogdan Stancu and Gabriel Torje.

But Schwarzer feels the Socceroos could take positives from the game, adding: "There were a lot of lessons learned. I think there were some individual performances that were pretty decent and that's going to put us in good stead against Oman.''

Osieck made six changes in the second half, and later admitted mixing things up may have cost his side victory.

Among those to impress was the dangerous Robbie Kruse, who produced a lively attacking display, and the hard-working Brett Holman.

Osieck singled out James Holland for praise after he was handed a starting role in defensive midfield, indicating he was a likely starter against Oman.

Sydney FC are 2.80 to beat Brisbane Roar, who are 2.40 to take three points from the match while Australia are 501.00 to win the 2014 World Cup.

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