Cardiff to host Wales v Australia friendly

Everton midfielder Tim Cahill is one of Australia's Europe-based stars
Everton midfielder Tim Cahill is one of Australia's Europe-based stars

The Football Association of Wales has confirmed that Cardiff City Stadium will host Wales' friendly against Australia on Wednesday, 10 August.

The FAW had pondered staging the match at Swansea's Liberty Stadium.

Aussie stars such as Tim Cahill, Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer are set to feature as Wales play their 73rd different nation.

"There are a lot of European and British-based players," Speed said.

"So it should spark a bit of interest in Wales and the Australian community in Britain."

Australia play most of their friendly fixtures in Europe because of the large proportion of European-based Australian internationals and Wales, who are 114th in the world, had a vacant friendly date on 10 August.

The FAW has persuaded Football Federation Australia, whose national team have qualified for the last two World Cups, to agree a first meeting between the two nations.

Wales regularly played friendlies against European minnows such as Liechtenstein, Georgia and Luxembourg under previous boss John Toshack, with the occasional match against top-level sides the Netherlands and Croatia.

But new manager Speed is working on qualifying for their first major finals since the 1958 World Cup and believes games with nations such as Australia are crucial to Wales' development as they prepare for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

"Australia are a different level," said the Wales boss.

"They beat Germany in their last game so that just shows you what a good team they are.

"If we are to improve and develop we want to play against strong nations, as we want to get to a place where we are competing when the next qualifiers come around."

The FAW have also confirmed the dates and venues for Wales' last two home games n their Euro 2012 Group G campaign.

Montenegro will be the visitors to Cardiff City Stadium on Friday, 2 September while Switzerland will be the opponents at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on Friday, 7 October - Wales' first fixture at the Swans' home.