Caltex Socceroos boss: we’re ready for Honduras ‘battle’

With just over a week until the winner-takes-all clash against Honduras, Ange Postecoglou says the Caltex Socceroos are fully-equipped to handle San Pedro Sula’s pressure-cooker environment in the first leg of the FIFA 2018 World Cup intercontinental play-off.

Australia has not faced a CONCACAF opponent since Postecoglou’s tenure began with a friendly win over Costa Rica in November 2013.

Ironically, Honduras’ coach is Jorge Luis Pinto, the same man Postecoglou faced on that night in Sydney which the Caltex Socceroos won 1-0.

But the Caltex Socceroos boss, who named a 25-man squad for the two-legged tie on Tuesday, is confident he knows what to expect from an opponent seeking a third straight FIFA World Cup berth.

“It’s going to be a real battle. Physically they are a very strong team and are very hard to beat at home,” Postecoglou told FFA TV.

“They’re not overly expansive as a team, they’ll be fairly disciplined defensively. But that is something we’re kind of used to playing against, so there won’t be anything too unique that we haven’t encountered before.

“There is no doubt the first game is going to be a pretty passionate kind of atmosphere, but that is exactly what you want because there is a big reward at stake.

“It’s going to be a bit of a battle for us but I’m sure we’ll be up for it.”

Caltex Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan expresses his relief after overcoming Syria in Sydney.
The Caltex Socceroos will be ready for a battle against Honduras.

As well as the challenges on the pitch, the Caltex Socceroos must also overcome the difficulties of a lengthy and unfamiliar trip to the Central American nation.

Postecoglou believes the national team’s “world-class” support staff and planning – which includes a chartered flight home – will give his side the edge.

“We’ve travelled far and wide and now I think we’re as good as anyone at dealing with those kinds of things,” he said.

“We’ve got the best people involved and we’re well-resourced and backed by the organisation.

“Our training ground and accommodation is all up to the standards we expect. From that point of view I’m really comfortable with all the arrangements we’ve made.”