Skipper Mile Jedinak says everything the Socceroos are doing right now is with a purpose to not only qualify but make a statement at the 2018 World Cup.
The Socceroos take their first step towards qualification for Russia 2018 when they take on Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek tonight.
It’s the first match of a possible 18 the side will need to play to book their spot in the tournament but Jedinak declared the focus is already on making an impact on the world stage.
“It’s important for where the group is at at the moment to try and challenge yourself and also we talk about taking ourselves to the next level,” Jedinak told FFA TV.
“Ange’s concept and philosophy of that has to do with making an impact [at the World Cup]. We need to go out there and make every game our best game.
“That’s the challenge been set, obviously there’s going to be obstacles, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s one we as a group and as individuals have to embrace in order for us to try and kick on.
“Looking back on the past week you can certainly see the boys are up for it.”
This is the first time an Australian national team has played in the country, which was formed in 1991 after reaching sovereignty from the Soviet Union.
The locals are loving the fact the Asian champions are in town and it’s believed a sellout crowd will greet the two nations at the 23,000-capacity Dolen Omurzakov Stadium.
But Jedinak insists the squad hasn’t been getting caught up in the hype.
“Looking from the outside it might seem a bit exciting but I think because we’ve been in camp for a little while, in the so-called bubble, you don’t really get to realise what you’re doing, where you are, you just get on with it,” the Socceroos skipper said.
“You try and put that to one side and just get on with the task at hand. It’s obviously a huge occasion with what’s at stake, World Cup qualifiers and being in a country we’ve never been to before.
“That’s going to come with its own experiences and challenges but it’s one we all have to embrace, which we all have, and going forward it’s been very positive.”
Asked about his fitness given it’s been over a month since he played his last competitive match in the EPL with Crystal Palace, Jedinak said: “Considering all the circumstances and the week’s that’s just gone I feel really good.
“It’s great to finally be here. The camps been great so far and we’ve put in some really good sessions.
“It’s all in preparation for [the game] where we get down to business.”