Coach Ange Postecoglou says the Caltex Socceroos are ready to take their football to the next level, starting with their FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier against Iraq at Perth's Rectangular Stadium on September 1.
Football Federation Australia confirmed on Sunday that the Socceroos' first step on the next phase of the road to Russia will begin in Perth on Thursday, September 1.
Postecoglou knows it’s vital his side get off to a flying start and is delighted to be back in the West, vowing his side will aim to thrill WA's football fans.
“We’re happy to be facing Iraq in Perth to kick start this stage of World Cup Qualifying,” Postecoglou said.
“It is an exciting stage of our progression as we move into the final round of qualification for the World Cup.
“We have been pretty consistent in our approaches to matches, whether we are home or away, and we aim to not only win the game but have the people of Perth out of their seats as we continue to play our progressive attacking style of football.”
The Socceroos cruised through the first phase of qualifying, topping Group B with seven wins from their eight matches.
One of those victories came in Perth with one of the green and gold’s best displays in a 5-0 demolition of Bangladesh last September.
The pristine surface at Perth's Rectangular Stadium - home to Hyundai A-League club Perth Glory - is perfect for the Socceroos' up-tempo, passing game, so expect them to go full-throttle to make an early statement against the talented Iraqis.
“It’s important that we get off to a good start as we have a tough first half of the campaign so football fans in Perth can expect us to be ready for the challenge Iraq poses,” Postecoglou said.
“Iraq has a good recent history, they did well at the 2015 Asian Cup, knocking Iran out of the competition on the way through to the semi-finals.
”We are expecting a tough match but we will take the game to them and look to dominate as we do every match on Australian soil.
“We qualified strongly though the first phase and gained great experience in the games against England and Greece but it is time to take our football to the next level to ensure we not only qualify for the World Cup in Russia but we are at a standard where we will make an impact.”