The mind games have begun four days out from the Socceroos’ opening World Cup game against Chile with the Aussies heaping pressure on their more fancied opponent.
Speaking after another intense at the Socceroos’ Vitoria training base, Dutch-based winger Tommy Oar said Chile will be feeling the heat when they face the Australians on Friday night (Sat 8am AEST) at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.
“All of the pressure will be on Chile and we look forward to taking the game to them. Everyone expects them to win,” the FC Utrecht winger said.
“The weight of expectation will be on them. They know if they don’t get something their backs will be against the wall.
“So for us, we can go into the game with a lot of confidence and really take it to them.
“We know we’re definitely capable of surprising the opponents [in the group]. If you look at our last game, every time we’ve got better and better.”
And the former Brisbane Roar star said the intense sessions under coach Ange Postecoglou will pay off.
And the fact that there are now a number of very fast attacking players – such as Oar, Ben Halloran, Matt Leckie and James Troisi – in the Socceroos offers hope of getting in behind what is likely to be a high line played by the South Americans.
“We know Chile are very fast and mobile and won't give us time on the ball so we have prepared that way,” noted Oar.
“We know if they press too much in tight areas and we can find space we can hurt them going forward.”
The guessing game continues regarding where Oar will play. A winger who can play centrally as a playmaker, Oar’s is likely to start but where exactly remains to be seen.
The quiet confidence emanating from the green and gold was underlined by captain Mile Jedinak, who is set to lead the Socceroos out as captain for the first time in a World Cup this Friday night.
“Everything has been building to Chile but we still have another two games after. We have been waiting for this for four weeks,” said the Crystal Palace skipper.
“In the end it is up to us to execute on the day, that's why we have been working hard at training.
“Chile are a very good side and we know we have a task ahead of us, but look forward to the challenge.
"We know they press aggressively but we have to work something out for that. But it's up to us to perform.
“Although we didn't get the result against Croatia, it was an improvement. Every day we are getting more familiar with each other,” said Jedinak.
The central midfielder added that arriving as the first nation at the World Cup has clearly worked in the side’s favour.
And the former Central Coast Mariner offered some good news on the injury front, which may play a part in where Oar plays against the Chileans on Friday night.
“'Bresh’ [Mark Bresciano] is doing great, and you could see it in training today. He is moving freely and getting on the ball.
“I’ve been asking him every day how he’s feeling. It’s very encouraging.”
Oar added: “Wherever I am put on the field I am happy, I just want to do what is best for the team.
“But he’s fantastic [Bresciano]. This will be his third World Cup and he brings a lot of composure on the pitch. And it’s great he’s fit again.”
In other news, reserve keeper Mark Birighitti has left Brazil after Adelaide United shot-stopper Eugene Galekovic recovered from the flu.
The three keepers are now set with Mat Ryan and Mitch Langerak expected to be number one and two followed by Galekovic.
"I've been able to see the hard work put in," added Jedinak. "And we are getting more familiar with each other and working towards one goal."
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