The Caltex Socceroos have hit the training pitch for the first time since their 1-1 draw with Syria, completing a solid 35-minute session on a cool afternoon at Stadium Australia on Sunday.
All 23 players completed the session without any issues, indicating coach Ange Postecoglou will have a full squad to choose from when picking his starting XI for Tuesday night’s crucial second leg.
The conditions were stark contrast to what the side faced in Malaysia last Thursday and you could see the players enjoyed the cooler temperatures.
And Postecoglou will have been delighted to get his side on the pristine ANZ Stadium surface, which will help Australia’s up-tempo style as they chase the win to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Assistant coach Josep Gombau took charge of the warm-up which included some light running, juggling the ball in pairs and short passes.
Keepers Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak and Mark Birighitti moved off for their specialised session with Tony Franken as the outfield players split into groups of 10 for a passing drill.
The drill centred around crisp passing and movement, with the emphasis of a good first touch and intensity.
After around 10 minutes the group moved into a possession game, with only Tomi Juric not involved.
The striker was put through his paces by Craig Duncan, dribbling between markers and completing some light running drills.
The rest of the squad went into the possession game, where three attackers looked to play around three defenders using four or five players on the outside of the grid.
After about 15 minutes of that drill the session was over, with the players warming down and stretching before finishing up.
Attackers Tim Cahill and James Troisi – who have had limited match-time in recent months due to the Hyundai A-League’s off-season - did some extra running on the side after the session.
It’s now one more session on Monday before the make-or-break clash with Syria on what is a pivotal night on the Road to Russia.
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