‘I like to think I'm a player for a big game’: Hrustic eyeing key role against Japan

As the Socceroos gear up for a mammoth clash at Stadium Australia on March 24, Ajdin Hrustic is hoping to fulfill a childhood dream. 

After impressing with his finely-tuned technical skills, eye for defence-splitting passes and dead-ball ability, Hrustic has quickly become a key figure in the Socceroos' 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign.

The 25-year-old has also enjoyed a solid season with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, where he has chipped in with two goals in 18 matches across all competitions. 

Socceroos Japan

Brimming with belief and energy, Hrustic hopes he can continue his fine form for club and country as the Socceroos endeavour to qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup.

“Of course, Japan at home is a big game for us. I see it as a do or die,” Hrustic said. 

“I want to go to the World Cup, the boys want to go to the World Cup, and I'm sure Australia wants us to go to the World Cup. 

You dream of moments where you're going to play in front of so many fans. This is the dream of every little kid. 

“I see it as 10 years of hard work. You work for 10 years for this one moment. It’s 90 minutes and it's on our home soil.

“I've played 13 out of 16 of the last games, and one of them I was suspended, so I want to step up and be a role model for the younger boys who are coming in and looking at us back home.

“I think I can bring a goal or two, maybe from a set-piece, and I can provide an assist. I like to think I'm a player for a big game.”

Ajdin Hrustic
Ajdin Hrustic has scored two goals in 13 appearances for the Socceroos.

There are so many dreams and wishes that young footballers can have, but the constants are playing in European competitions and at a World Cup. 

Growing up in Melbourne, Hrustic was no different. He left Australia as a 15-year-old to chase his dream overseas and after representing Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, he is now closing in on his World Cup dream. 

The remaining World Cup qualifiers are the culmination of a decade of hard work for Hrustic and he is going to give it everything he's got. 

“Some of the boys have already participated in a World Cup but I only just missed out on the last one,” he explained. 

“I was gutted. I wasn't happy at all so this is kind of special for me, but also for all the boys to represent the Green and Gold is every kid's dream. It's something that would break my heart if we were not to qualify.

When I was a little 15-year-old kid back home, you dream about playing in World Cups, Champions League, Bundesliga and Premier League and it's your dream to play for the Australian national team.

“Since a young age, I've been hungry to achieve what I am now but just because I am playing in one of the top five leagues in the world, doesn't mean I give up. 

“I keep fighting, and I keep doing everything I can to keep going and keep making steps forward in my career.”

The Socceroos’ ultimate goal of automatic qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup will likely rest on their showdown against Japan.

While the form guides have flipped since their last meeting, Hrustic hopes his side has taken the positives from their 2-1 defeat back in October 2021. 

WATCH: Hrustic scores stunner against Japan in October 2021

“I didn't think we deserve to lose that game,” Hrustic said. 

“We did play Japan away and we showed great mentality. We were just a bit unlucky but it's something we shouldn't look back on anymore. 

“It's done and dusted and we've got them coming on our home soil so I'm sure we will be ready mentally, physically and we'll give everything we've got.”

Matchday 9: Australia v Japan
Date: Thursday, 24 March 2022
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia 
Kick-off: 8.10PM Local Time
Tickets: Tickets are available now. You can purchase your tickets by clicking here.
Broadcast: Live and free in Australia on Network 10 and simulcast on Paramount+ and 10 Play

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