Australia line up Belgium, UAE, Qatar matches

Australia has lined up friendlies against Belgium, UAE and Qatar to build on its progress at the World Cup and prepare for the 2015 Asian Cup, officials said Tuesday.

The Socceroos will play World Cup quarter-finalists Belgium away on September 4 before taking on the United Arab Emirates on October 10 and Qatar four days later, with both matches in the Middle East.

Football Federation Australia said it was in negotiations for the team to play a second match in Europe during the September FIFA international window and two matches in Australia in November.

"We have confirmed three opponents and hope to have three more games between now and the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, which gives us good preparation for what will be a challenging tournament on Australian soil in January," coach Ange Postecoglou said.

"Belgium will give us a good post-World Cup indication of how we are progressing and then we will get some good hit outs against Asian opposition to help us prepare tactically for the Asian Cup."

The Socceroos lost all three of their games in Brazil, to Spain, the Netherlands and Chile, but Postecoglou said it had been a step in the right direction for his young team.

"Our performances in Brazil at the World Cup reaffirmed that we are moving in the right direction but it also showed we need to improve if we want to be regarded as one of the leading football nations, which is our ultimate target," he said.

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