Aussies still recovering

Around 4-5,000 mostly Australian supporters watched the Socceroos go through their paces in Oehringen today with the majority now heading the hours drive to Stuttgart, to prepare for Thursday’s crunch match against Croatia.

Around 4-5,000 mostly Australian supporters watched the Socceroos go through their paces in Oehringen today with the majority now heading the hours drive to Stuttgart, to prepare for Thursday-s crunch match against Croatia.

Those that played a large part in yesterday evening-s clash with reigning world champions Brazil in Munich, trained lightly, while the rest played a seven-a-side match that kept the fans entertained.

The fans were in a boisterous mood and gave the players a huge cheer as they arrived and whenever they passed their section of the ground when doing some warm-up laps.

"I don-t think so," was Vince Grella-s response when asked if he had trained in front of so many Australian fans.

"It was a good day. I think it hard for the players, because normally it-s a really tiring day for us the day after a game and probably can-t give as much time as we would like to."

"But I think everyone understands," Grella added.

"Today was more than some of the crowds we get to games," said Scott Chipperfield, in reference to many national league games he used to play in. "It was good there was so many Australians here getting behind the team, we know there was a lot of people at the game yesterday and hopefully there will be on Thursday."

Meanwhile Grella believes that the hot conditions that Croatia played in yesterday might work in our favour.

"Four days is usually a pretty good time to recover," Grella said. "But I think it would have taken a fair bit out of them because it was so hot. So we-ll see how they back up for it (Thursday-s game with Australia)."

The Parma and Australian defensive midfielder believes the two sides possess similar strengths and weaknesses and that Thursday-s match will be a tough and physical encounter.

"Modern soccer is physical, all games are pretty physical," Grella said. "All teams should play to their strengths and apart from what a few people have said about us, if you actually watch the games I think we have played some good football as well. So if we have a good blend of both, we have a good chance."

"I think they have some good players and it will be a tough game."

"At the moment, we are just really recovering from the game with Brazil. I think everyone understands the importance of the game (against Croatia) and I think first base recovery, charge up and obviously in the next two days work on the game plan and what the coaches want to be doing for the game against Croatia."

Scott Chipperfield once again mentioned the players are disappointed with not getting something out of the game

"A little bit disappointed with the result yesterday but we can-t dwell on that and we look forward to the Croatia game now."

"I think we gained a lot of confidence from yesterday, even though we did lose the game. I thought we played some really good football at times."

"It-s just a matter on Thursday if we get chances we take them and we can get through to the second round."

Like Grella, Chipperfield is expecting a tough, physical encounter.

"They-re a big strong side and like to get stuck in and defensively they are very strong" he said. "They-re hard to break down. Brazil struggled to break them down and Japan also yesterday, so it-s not going to be an easy game. I think if we can play the way we did in the last two games then we are a good chance."

While Australia survived any suspensions through yellow cards, Croatia were not so lucky with central defender Robert Kovac getting his second yellow card of the tournament and will therefore not play against Australia.

'He-s an important player for them at the back. He organises the way they play and he is a very good player, so they will obviously miss him, but they have a lot of good players in their squad."

He also reiterated that Australia will not just try to play out for a draw against Croatia and that three points is a must.

"If you settle for a draw, that-s not the way we play, we like to attack, so it-s important that we play the way we feel comfortable with," Chippers said. "If we just try to defend, its suits them more than it does us, so it-s important we play our own game and hopefully we can get a draw or a win."