Caltex Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says the familiar environment in Melbourne will lift his players as they search for a decisive win against Thailand to help secure automatic qualification to Russia 2018.
The Australians face the bottom side in Group B at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday evening needing a win - and a goal glut preferably - to help their cause for automatic qualification.
But even if the Green and Gold win and win well, they won’t know their fate officially till the early hours of Wednesday morning after the Saudi home game with Japan.
“We’ve been in this sort of situation over the last two games where every game becomes crucial when you get to the tail end of qualification,” Postecoglou told the media at the official pre-game press conference.
“And this game’s no different.
“Being at home certainly helps just from the players adjusting and feeling at home in the conditions.
“It’s exciting knowing tomorrow night or the early hours of the following morning we’ll know whether we’re in the World Cup."
MORALE STILL STRONG
Postecolgou added the players were still in high spirits despite the 2-0 loss to Japan last Thursday in Saitama, one which he conceded was a disappointing result.
“I haven’t sensed morale needs lifting.
“Obviously everyone was disappointed but that’s the nature of what we do. There are highs and lows and you deal with them and you move on."
Postecoglou was flanked by Tim Cahill for the press conference fuelling speculation that the legendary striker might be in the starting line up, though the starting XI hasn’t been decided on said the coach.
“We’ve analysed the [Japan] game like any other game and were disappointed both with some aspects of our performance and the result.
“And now it’s about making sure come kick off tomorrow we’re in good shape to get the job done.”