Ange Postecoglou says Australia’s ability to maintain "tempo and fluidity" will be crucial to his side’s chances in tonight’s World Cup qualification play-off against Syria.
The Caltex Socceroos face Syria in the first leg of a make-or-break play-off series in Malaysia before returning to Australia for the return fixture on Tuesday (October 10).
Postecoglou’s side will face tricky conditions in Melaka with temperatures expected to hover around 30C coupled with humidity of close to 80%.
And with the bumpy pitch at Hang Jebat Stadium combined with a Syria outfit expected to sit deep and hit on the break, Australia face a tough assignment.
“That’s been our challenge through the whole World Cup qualifying campaign. Teams sit back and are quite happy to sit back against us.
"We’re quite happy to go at them and try and test them as much as we can,” Postecoglou told the media at the official pre-game press conference.
“There’s similarities with what we’re going to face tomorrow. We’re at the point now where the players have pretty much experienced the whole gamut of what a World Cup qualifying process means.
“When things go well, when things don’t go well. When the conditions are against you. Even the disappointment of not qualifying directly. It all adds to the growth of the team.
“Whatever we face ... it won’t be unfamiliar to them. We’ll be up for the fight. More importantly, with the experience behind us, we’ll be able to overcome it.”
Postecoglou said he was confident his side would win the game but reiterated that continuity and effectiveness in possession would be crucial given the conditions.
“We’ve had some challenges particularly in these kind of conditions in the past with just trying to maintain a certain tempo and fluidity in our game,” he said.
“The conditions and the way the opposition set-up has caused us some problems sometimes.
“And that’s what we’re looking for – hopefully keep that fluidity within our game plan and try to keep the tempo as high as possible and not let the opposition disrupt that.
“When we’ve done that even in away fixtures we’ve done well. The ones we’ve struggled are when we’ve let the conditions or the opposition disrupt that game style."
Syria have made history by making it this far in qualifying but Postecoglou refuted suggestions that it would mean more to the opposition to book a World Cup place.
“No I don’t think so. What’s at stake is a World Cup spot. It’s the same for both teams,” he said.
“I don’t think it would mean anything more to them than it would to us or anything less.
“We’ve qualified for the last three World Cups but we waited a long time not qualifying so we know what that feels like as well.
“I don’t think there’s any real difference in motivation. The prize is the same.
“For us, we certainly go into the game knowing we’ve got a pretty tough opposition to overcome.
"But our ambitions and goals aren’t inferior to what the opposition’s are, that’s for sure.”
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