New Caltex Socceroo Apostolos Giannou says only a goal would have made his “fantastic” debut any better. But he rued his missed goal late in the rout of Tajikistan on Thursday night.
In his first senior game in the green and gold after choosing Australia over Greece, Giannou made a handy contribution as Ange Postecoglou’s side cruised to a 7-0 win at Adelaide Oval.
The 26-year-old was directly involved in four of the goals – including winning two penalties – and worked his socks off in an impressive 90-minute display.
“To make my debut with a 7-0 win for the team is fantastic,” a delighted Giannou told reporters afterwards.
“There was a few nerves before the match…but as time passes I’ll do better and better.
“After about 65 minutes I got tired and I just tried to keep up. I tried my best…if the team gives me a bit of time I’ll be happy.”
The only thing missing from Giannou’s all-round effort was a goal and he was unlucky not to be credited with one 20 minutes from the end.
Substitute Tom Rogic’s volley hit the crossbar and bounced down onto the line before Giannou slammed it home, but the referee ruled Rogic’s initial effort was in, even though replays may've suggested otherwise.
He also missed a gilt-edged chance soon after when – with the goal gaping – he struck his shot onto the post rather than into an empty net.
“It doesn’t matter [about the goal] as long as the team won,” Giannou said.
“Of course I’d be happier if I scored, even the last one that hit the post…I can’t believe I missed that.
“Hopefully my first goal isn’t too far away and I can get it in the next game.”
Giannou said the match and being in camp with the side this week only reinforced to him he made the right move choosing to play for Australia over country-of-birth Greece.
But there is still one more job for the squad to complete, needing to avoid defeat to Jordan on Tuesday to ensure they move on to the next stage of AFC qualifying for Russia 2018.
Giannou says there will be no let-up from the full-throttle showing against Tajikistan when they head to Sydney.
“We played attacking football even though the opposition wasn’t the best. We still tried to play and could have scored even more,” he said.
“Hopefully that will come out again in the next game against Jordan. That’s the plan for the team.
“We want to play attacking football and dominate the game. That’s what we’re going to do.”