Caltex Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak played down suggests Tajikistan is only in Australia for a holiday, insisting the focus is solely on what his side can achieve in Thursday night’s FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier.
While the Socceroos were slogging it out in an intense training session at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday, the Tajiks took the time to check out a local wildlife park.
It’s led to suggestions the visitors - who are out of contention to progress, will put up little resistance for a fired-up Australia looking to take a big step towards qualification for the next stage of qualifying on Thursday.
“What they [Tajikistan] do with their spare time is irrelevant,” Jedinak said at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“The boss [coach Ange Postecoglou] mentioned a lot of tomorrow night is about what we do and how we perform and what level we can get up to.
“…Up until this point it’s been fantastic. Having such a long time between camps, the boys are really happy and pleased we’re all here finally, we’ve got the job to do and I have no doubt we’re going to be up to the task.”
It’s been seven months since the Socceroos were last in action and Postecoglou says he’s felt a “good vibe” in the camp with everyone back together again.
There is a steely determination among the squad to get the job done and ensure there’s not too much pressure heading into Tuesday’s potentially defining clash with Jordan in Sydney.
Having played four of the six qualifiers in the group so far away from home, the side is excited to be back in front of Australian fans for these two games.
And they are determined to put on a show for the expected 35,000 crowd in what is the national team’s first match in Adelaide in five years.
“The last two home games we’ve had in Perth and Canberra have been really good games for us in terms of the way we performed,” Postecoglou said.
“Home games are going to be crucial moving forward. Every time you play at home you really have to perform strongly and win because you know how hard every game away is going to be.
“The crowd will be behind us, the conditions will be favourable and we’ll feel comfortable. There’s an ease there…I know the players will be looking forward to it.”