Hundreds of fans were on hand to watch the Socceroos train on Tuesday as the intensity went up a notch ahead of Thursday night’s must-win 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier™ in Adelaide.
Coach Ange Postecoglou had 20 players take part in a short but rigorous session in warm conditions at Adelaide Oval, with keepers Mat Ryan and Mitch Langerak and winger Robbie Kruse to arrive in camp on Tuesday night.
After the warm-up and a quick rev-up from Postecoglou in the middle of Adelaide Oval, the session got into full swing.
Gloveman Adam Federici went off to do his own work with coach Tony Franken while Alex Gersbach, Brad Smith, Mathew Leckie and Chris Ikonomidis eased through the session away from the main group.
The other 15 players - Cahill, Jedinak, Milligan, Burns, Mooy, Luongo, McKay, Risdon, Wright, Giannou, Wilkinson, Rogic, Geria, Sainsbury and McGowan - got straight into work with the ball.
And with the session open to the fans, a huge cheer went out as the side got down to business as they lapped up the chance to see their heroes up close.
One supporter, Emma Marsden from Glenelg, said she couldn’t miss the opportunity to bring her two young sons to meet their Socceroo heroes.
“The boys [Luke and Cooper] were too young to remember the last time the Socceroos came to Adelaide so we weren’t going to miss this one,” she said.
“They love Timmy Cahill and [Tom] Rogic so to see them here up close in Adelaide is just great. We can’t wait for Thursday night.”
Like Monday’s session, passing drills with plenty of movement and one-touch play were the focus for much of the hit-out.
After around 15 minutes of pass and move, it was onto a larger grid where six players had the task of keeping possession off three defenders, trying to pass their way into another grid.
Most of it was down with just one or two touch as the defenders were urged by assistant coach Ante Millicic to close down at break-neck speed.
With a number of spots in the starting XI seemingly still up for grabs, you could sense there was a greater urgency to impress throughout each drill.
Overall, the session lasted just over 45 minutes before it was time for a warm down and then it was straight into signing autographs and having photos with the fans.
There’s now just one session to go on Wednesday before the big game against Tajikistan.
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