“Everyone wants to come on and contribute”: Riley McGree Talks Impact Subs as Socceroos Score Twice in the Second Half

Riley McGree made an impact off the bench against India last night, setting up Jordan Bos to double the Socceroos lead in our opening match of the 2023 Asian Cup.

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Our Socceroos left Ahmad bin Ali Stadium with three necessary points after taking their chances in the second half against a rigid and resolute Indian side backed by a chorus of passionate fans.

Chances came rarely in the opening half, with The Blue Tigers putting up a strong resistance as our Socceroos tried to get into gear. In a crowd of over 35,000 fans, India took strength from the supportive chants while our Socceroos worked patiently to create openings in the final third. 

Our most common avenue was a diagonal switch of play to Craig Goodwin, and despite what felt like a dozen corners in the first forty-five, we struggled to capitalise on any of our set-piece chances.

The first half ended goalless, but it was a completely different narrative when Graham Arnold’s men returned to the pitch. Jackson Irvine showed our intent immediately, controlling a miss-placed punch with his chest before picking the gap between two centre-backs with a delicate left-footed volley to break a tense deadlock.

Socceroos vs India AFC Asian Cup Jackson Irvine Goal Celebration


Graham Arnold turned to his bench to lock up the game, with Riley McGree and Jordan Bos providing an immediate impact when they entered the fray. McGree had been on the pitch for ten minutes; Bos had been on the pitch for ten seconds, but the pair showed their quality as McGree sliced a low cross to the back post for Bos to slot home. For the 21-year-old, it was his first goal in the Green & Gold.

Following his side's opening match victory, Riley McGree spoke about his freedom in the final third as the game opened up in the second half.

“I just felt quite free, and I found some spaces, and I was able to contribute in a way that I felt was somewhat effective”, McGree said.

“Personally, I like to just kind of see where and how I can affect the game and spaces I can, you know, exploit."

“Coming on, obviously, the game opens up in the second half, and things start to happen a little bit more."

With a crucial and momentum-building victory to set the tone in our opening match, Riley McGree spoke about the Socceroos mentality heading into our first major tournament since the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“It’s good to be back here on winning terms."

“To be in and around another tournament environment, it feels a little bit more natural, and the way in which we can deal with it and cope with it."

“I think coming into a competition like this, you know, some would say we're up there to potentially take it out, and we take that in our stride."

“We take it game by game, and hopefully, the results can take care of themselves."

“We want to play our brand of football, and we want to approach the game in the way, you know, we think will best suit."

“Every game is different, obviously, but we as a football team, and as a nation, we want to play good quality football and entertain.”

Our opening round victory sees us sit at the top of Group B, with our attention turning to Syria on Thursday night at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

Socceroos vs India AFC Asian Cup Post-Match Celebration

Match Details

Australia: 2 (Jackson Irvine 50', Jordan Bos 73')

India: 0

Date: Saturday 13th January 2024

Venue: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Doha, Qatar


Syria v Australia
Thursday, 18 January 2024
Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: 2:30pm local (10:30pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+

Australia v Uzbekistan
Tuesday, 23 January 2024
Al Janoub Stadium, Doha
Kick-off: 2:30pm local (10:30pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+

Every AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 match will be live on Paramount+