Confidence still high for Socceroos
Qantas Socceroo midfielder Brett Holman has said despite the disappointment of losing to Iraq, confidence within the squad is still very high, leading into Saturday’s crucial match with Qatar at the Al Saad Stadium in Doha.
Dubai: Qantas Socceroo midfielder Brett Holman has said despite the disappointment of losing to Iraq, confidence within the squad is still very high, leading into Saturday-s crucial match with Qatar at the Al Saad Stadium in Doha.
The loss and Qatar-s surprise 1-0 win over China, now sees the two teams locked together on seven points, with a win for either, ensuring their place in the next round of qualifiers.
Holman, who came on at half time for Vince Grella, gave the Australian attack some real impetus and caused the Iraq defence a few anxious moments with his directness at goal; but he unfortunately missed Australia-s best chance to equalise after he played a neat one-two combination with Kewell.
“Yeah without a doubt,” he said, when asked if confidence is still high in the squad. “We virtually knew that it-s going to be impossible to go through the qualifications unbeaten and you always have to think about these things. We are still in a great position and if we get a good result against Qatar, then hopefully we are through.
“We know what we have to do; we are not looking at other teams; we-ve still got everything in own hands and we know what we have to do against Qatar and that-s get a good result.”
After a fairly flat first half, where Australia-s first shot at goal did not come until the 44th minute, Holman-s introduction up front to join Harry Kewell in a restructured more orthodox 4-4-2 formation, turned things in Australia-s favour.
Suddenly the Iraq defence was on the back foot as the NEC Nijmegen midfielder was prepared to take them on and try and create openings for the likes of Kewell, plus Josh Kennedy and Scott McDonald went they also entered the fray during the second half.
“I thought we did really well in that second half, it was a pity we couldn-t get back level,” he said.
While they only played 20 minutes up front together, Holman said he enjoyed his chance up alongside Kewell and it was there terrific combination that almost brought Australia level. Unfortunately for Holman his delightful one-two with Kewell didn-t get the finish the move deserved and his shot from 12 yards was unable to beat Noor.
“Harry-s a fantastic player and it-s easy to gel with him I think, because he knows how to play football. I had a great chance to equalise, which I didn-t put away and I was disappointed with that,” he admitted.
“I have to do better in those situations; work harder and hopefully if I get another chance against Qatar, I can do better.”
Asked if that miss will play on his mind, he said “You have got to get on with it, otherwise you are going to think about it too much and that will put you off your game.
“You learn that, especially at club football, you get enough chances and you miss enough chances and you have got to learn to get on with it, otherwise you are not going to progress.”
Holman, who preferred position is just in behind two strikers, doesn-t know if they will stay with the formation used in the second half, or adopt the more conservative approach they started with.
“I don-t know we-ll see what happens in the next couple of days; we are going to do a lot of formation stuff leading up to Qatar.
With next week-s matches potentially deciding at least one team going through to the next phase and perhaps one team dropping out, does he see it absolutely necessary to get a win in Doha.
“I don-t think so,” he said. “Even if something does go wrong against Qatar, which I don-t think it will, we-ll have a fantastic crowd back home and I-m positive we-ll get a good result in both games.”