Determination and desperation: The attributes inspiring the Joeys ahead of France clash
In-form striker Noah Botic says the Joeys will need to show the same type of desperation and belief against France that inspired their incredible win over Nigeria at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Joeys produced a display of quality and resilience to overcome the highly-fancied Africans 2-1 on Saturday morning.
The result saw Trevor Morgan’s side finish third in Group B on four points, enough to earn the Green and Gold a spot in the Round of 16.
France – knows as Les Bleuets – won all three of their group matches and are considered one the favourites for the tournament.
But the size of the task in front of the Joeys doesn’t faze Botic, who says the young Australians are growing in confidence in Brazil.
“We believe in ourselves. You can tell in the game [against Nigeria] how much belief we have,” Botic told socceroos.com.au.
“Just holding off that 2-1 lead for a good half an hour, people putting their body on the line, especially Adam [keeper Adam Pavlesic] making crucial saves.
“Izaack [Powell] clearing the ball off the line, the same as Caleb [Watts] in the first half and that’s what we needed.
“After seeing that we think we can go all the way with that sort of determination and drive.”
Botic has been a star performer for the Joeys in Brazil, scoring four goals across all three group matches, including a brace against Nigeria.
The Hoffenheim striker opened the scoring against the Nigerians as he finished off a swift counter-attack, before the African heavyweights drew level before the break.
But after the Joeys won a penalty in the second-half, Botic took the responsibility with the critical spot-kick on his shoulders.
“I knew where I was going straight away,” he said.
“In those kind of situations you just have to relax and stay calm and that’s what I did.
“Once we got the second goal I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew we had to work twice as hard just to keep it that way and that’s what we did.”
Asked about the emotions when the full-time whistle went, Botic said: “I could see all my teammates run on to the pitch and come celebrate with us and that sort of feeling doesn’t happen to often.
“After that final whistle went off I was relieved, I could relax now just knowing we made it through to the round of 16 which isn’t easy and obviously it’s amazing for Australian football.”
Thursday’s match against France will be played at the Estadio da Serrinha, kicking off at 10am (AEDT).