By Sportsmail Reporter
Last updated at 12:52 AM on 27th May 2010

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Australia became the first squad to arrive in South Africa ahead of the World Cup when they touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.

The Socceroos, one of the first teams to qualify for the tournament, arrived after dark at South Africa’s main international airport in Johannesburg – and were the first to test the special arrival facility constructed by the airport for World Cup squads.

Teams arriving in South Africa have dedicated arrival facilities, where they will be processed away from regular passengers and fans because of security concerns.
Touchdown: A specially branded plane brings the Australian team into OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg

Touchdown: A specially branded plane brings the Australian team into OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg

The squad, including Premier League stars Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer, captain Lucas Neill and former Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell, posed briefly for TV cameras and photographers before being whisked away by bus to their team base on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

‘We are pleased to welcome Australia as the first team to arrive in our country,’ said organizing committee chief executive Danny Jordaan, who was at the airport to welcome the squad.
Star man: Socceroo Tim Cahill will be hoping to lead his country into the knockout stages of the World Cup

Star man: Socceroo Tim Cahill will be hoping to lead his country into the knockout stages of the World Cup

‘We all know that the stadiums are all ready, everything is in place and now the teams are finally here. More importantly though, our people are ready.’

Australia’s Dutch coach Pim Verbeek said: ‘I have been in this country about eight or nine times already and I have always enjoyed my stay here.

‘The most important thing for us is to win our first game. We have given ourselves plenty of time to prepare and acclimatize to the local conditions. The players will have to get used to the altitude and the few warm-up matches will help us a lot in achieving this.’

Conditioning will be crucial for the Australians, who open their group campaign against three-time World Cup winner Germany in the coastal city of Durban on June 13, before traveling up to the high-altitude Rustenburg and Nelspruit to play Ghana and Serbia.

Australia will warm up for the tournament with friendlies against Denmark and the United States, games which will take place after Verbeek has trimmed his squad to a final 23-man group ahead of the June 1 FIFA deadline.

Brazil are the next team due to arrive, on Thursday morning, with Denmark and Argentina scheduled for this weekend and the USA expected on Monday.

Spain, the final team to touch down in South Africa, are planning to fly in on June 11 – the same day as the opening game between the host nation and Mexico.

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