The Caltex Socceroos will aim to strike early and hit Thailand hard from the opening whistle in tonight’s (Tues) FIFA World Cup qualifier in Bangkok, says Aussie skipper Mile Jedinak.
In what is looming as a key game on the road to Russia, the Caltex Socceroo skipper wants a commanding performance from his nation at the Rajamangala stadium.
With Australia conceding early goals in their last two qualifiers – both ending in draws against Saudi Arabia and Japan respectively – Jedinak wants his side to start fast against the “tricky” Thais.
“At any level, but particularly at this World Cup qualification in this region, it’s about trying to stay in games,” Jedinak said at the official pre-match press conference.
“The longer you can stay in games and keep it close, everyone’s a chance of getting a goal and holding onto that lead.
“We like to take it to the opposition at the beginning. Whether they have the discipline to cope remains to be seen.
"That will be the test, not only to maintain that, but are they able to hold out?
“It’d be nice to get an early goal...if we don’t it’s about applying the pressure then more than likely the goal will come.”
Tonight’s games in Group B will have a huge bearing on how the Caltex Socceroos will sit at the halfway point of this final group qualifying phase.
Ange Postecoglou’s troops are currently second on eight points, two behind current leaders Saudi Arabia (10 points) and just ahead of third-placed Japan (seven points).
Those two nations meet earlier tonight meaning three points for Australia will leave them in a strong position to qualify for Russia heading into the second half of the group stage in 2017.
"We knew the first five games would be really tough because we had two trips to the Middle East plus this away game, and one of our home games against Japan," Caltex Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said.
"If we play well and claim maximum points we'll be on 11 points from five games.
"Regardless of what the others do we'll be in a good position with three home games next year plus Iraq at a neutral venue - so we've only really got one away game in the back half. We'll let the others fight it out."
Postecoglou said his side has had a flawless preparation for this clash, having enjoyed a rare 10-day training camp in Bangkok.
While Thailand have yet to register a point from their first four qualifiers, as recent history shows, they are always a handful for Australia and will be motivated to topple the Asian champions.
“We understand it will be, particularly here in Bangkok... a difficult game. Last time both nations have met, both games were tight affairs,” the Caltex Socceroos boss said.
“We understand we need to make sure all the principles of our game are strong.
“We like to dominate and hopefully push the opposition back in terms of territory and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
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