Kewell has sights set on quarters
Australian attacking lynchpin Harry Kewell has underlined the Socceroos’ determination to succeed at their first ever Asian Cup, despite unconvincing first-up displays against Oman and Iraq.
BANGKOK: Australian attacking lynchpin Harry Kewell has underlined the Socceroos- determination to succeed at their first ever Asian Cup, despite unconvincing first-up displays against Oman and Iraq.
Kewell is one of ten players to have started both of Australia-s Group A encounters, and one of only six to have played all 180 minutes of the Socceroos- brief Asian Cup history.
After nearly one year on the sidelines recovering from a litany of unfortunate injury concerns, Kewell has shown signs of adjusting to the unfamiliar surrounds of Bangkok-s Rajamangala Stadium, but, along with several of his team mates, will be hoping for an improved showing when Australia-s hopes of qualification for the quarter finals go on the line against Thailand on Monday.
“It-s disappointing obviously, we played our best but obviously it wasn-t good enough,” said Kewell following the Socceroos- 3-1 loss to Iraq.
“Against Thailand, we can only go out there and try to play better than we did today - we can-t even look forward to playing in the next round after the way we played this game here.”
Kewell, along with the rest of the Socceroos- starting eleven against Iraq, has been put on notice by coach Graham Arnold following what was another flat showing in the Thai capital last Friday.
Arnold-s charges have, for the most part, limped through their opening matches, with the Socceroos- only causes for celebration coming from Tim Cahill-s last minute intervention against Oman and captain Mark Viduka-s equaliser against Iraq.
Individually, wingback Brett Emerton was a standout against Iraq, while Cahill-s cameos coupled with encouraging contributions from the likes of Mark Schwarzer in game one and Viduka in game two are certainly cause for optimism.
However, Monday-s match against the co-hosts will almost certainly provide the Socceroos with their toughest test yet.
Thailand is flying high following their 2-0 triumph over Oman on Thursday and their preceding 1-1 draw with Iraq in the tournament-s opening match.
The co-hosts chances at these championships were largely dismissed prior to the tournament and justifiably so, with the Thai-s Asian Cup record reading only one progression past the group stage from five previous attempts.
Such has been Thailand-s form; the coy support originally offered by Bangkok-s football-mad community has swelled to a vociferous roar, and one would expect the 60,000 capacity Rajamangala National Stadium to be near-full on Monday - the majority of which truly believing that the Thailand national team are on the verge of achieving something very special.
Indeed, the Socceroos- backs are, as they say, against the wall - more so than they have ever been in recent memory.
“You can-t blame the referee, you can-t blame the manager, you can-t blame anyone, the only people that you can blame are the eleven players that are out there, and we weren-t good enough, it-s as simple as that,” said Kewell.
“The players need to pull their finger out and I-m no exception, I think if you look at my own performance, it was poor.
“We-ve got to sit down, we-ve only got a few days to turn this around and we have to.”
Australia-s Asian Cup hopes go on the line against co-hosts Thailand this coming Monday, 16 July. Kick off at the Rajamangala Stadium for Australia-s final Group A match is at 10.35pm AEST.
Fox Sports will feature live and exclusive coverage of the match from 10.30pm AEST. Click here for the entire Fox Sports broadcast schedule.
Update to Young Socceroos squad for AFC U19 Championship
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed on Friday a change to the Young Socceroos squad that is competing at the 2018 AFC U19 Championship in Indonesia. Young Socceroos coach Ante Milicic has brought in Melbourne City FC’s Connor Metcalfe to replace Western Sydney Wa
When are your Caltex Socceroos in action this weekend?
Awer Mabil will be among the Aussies taking Caltex Socceroos form back to the club grind as Aaron Mooy braces for a huge Premier League test this weekend. Meanwhile, there's a match not to be missed in Scotland that's set to showcase several of our overseas stars. Read on t
Milicic calls for fast start to AFC U-19 Championship campaign
Ante Milicic has urged his Young Socceroos side not to waste a second at the AFC U-19 Championship as they prepare to meet Korea Republic on Friday night. A tournament-opening victory for either nation in Indonesia could prove crucial to progressing from a tricky Group C that