Courtney-Perkins: Fighting qualities have Joeys in confident mood for Nigeria clash
Defender Jordan Courtney-Perkins says the Joeys’ spirited fightback against Hungary has instilled the group with confidence heading into the final FIFA U-17 World Cup group match against Nigeria on Saturday (AEDT).
Trevor Morgan’s youngsters trailed 2-0 inside 20 minutes against the Europeans on Wednesday but produced a stirring second-half comeback to draw 2-2.
The one point from the result means the Joeys can give themselves a huge chance to progress to the knockout phase if they beat Nigeria on Saturday morning (7am kick-off AEDT).
Having also conceded two early goals in the opening 2-1 loss to Ecuador last weekend, Courtney-Perkins knows the Joeys need to get out of the blocks quickly against Nigeria.
But the way they have played and fought back in both of their opening games has the squad bouncing heading into their final group match.
“We conceded two early goals again which had us on the backfoot early on but two goals can easily be fixed in our game,” Courtney-Perkins told socceroos.com.au.
“We played outstanding and we were battering them for 80 or 90 minutes. We were knocking the ball around nicely…everyone showed a good fight as well.
“It was good to see the boys dig deep. A lot of teams can go two goals down and really drop their heads and give up, but that’s not the Australian way.
“We kept going hard at it, kept to our style of play, we trusted out structures and we got two goals back and came away with one point and could have easily had more.”
Nigeria have already ensured their progression to the next round having won both of their first two group matches.
The African nation have won the FIFA U-17 World Cup on five previous occasions and are one of the tournament heavyweights in Brazil.
But Courtney-Perkins believes they will be nervous of taking on the Joeys.
“It would be scary for any other team to look at that performance [against Hungary] and think ‘wow we’re versing Australia next’,” the Brisbane Roar defender said.
“It was good for us and Australian football to put on the performance we did.”
He added: “It’s been mixed emotions after [the first two] games, we’ve been pretty unlucky results wise but definitely after (the Hungary) performance we should definitely be excited for the Nigeria game.”
Australia v Nigeria
Date: Friday, 1 November 2019
Venue: Estadio Bezerrao, Brasilia (Gama), Brazil
Kick-off: 5.00pm (local) – 7.00am (AEDT) Saturday, 2 November 2019
Broadcast: Live in Australia via SBS and theworldgame.sbs.com.au