Rising midfield star Massimo Luongo says he felt the sweltering Brisbane conditions in his first full match in Socceroos’ colours, but is confident of being in top shape when Australia plays China in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.
Luongo was once again one of the standout Socceroos players in his advanced midfield role, but noticeably faded towards the end of the 1-0 loss to South Korea as the hot and humid conditions took their toll.
The 22-year-old is used to much cooler climes when he plays for his English club side, Swindon Town, but insisted he was relishing the opportunity to take on an ever more important role in the Australian team.
“I think that was probably my first 90 minutes for the Socceroos,” he said.
“It was a tiring one, I tried to do as much of a shift as I could.
“I am getting comfortable and I’m enjoying getting on the ball and trying to create things.”
Though he is not used to playing in temperatures in the 30s at club level, Luongo said the Socceroos had received ideal preparations leading into the tournament.
“I’m feeling a bit tired, but we’ve got five days and it’s nothing I haven’t had before, backing up games over in England, so I know what to do and how to prepare for the next game.
“We had a tough week before the first game in Melbourne, and that was hot, so we’re quite used to it.
“We’ve got five days, so we’ve got an extra day compared to the other games.
“Everything we do is recovery until the last training session, we’ll be fine.”
Australia created a host of opportunities throughout the match but could not find the net, and Luongo, one of those teeing up chances for his teammates, believes the side did most things right on the night.
“It was a tough game, whether or not we made it tough on ourselves, maybe a little bit.
“Everyone put a shift in, it was a tough shift, it was a good shift – everyone did the right things and we created loads of chances and that’s what you want to do.”
The Socceroos will face China PR in the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday 22 January (8.30pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.
Rukavytsya ready to relive 'unbelievable' World Cup experience
Caltex Socceroos striker Nikita Rukavytsya is hoping history repeats itself as he zeroes in on an unexpected FIFA World Cup berth. The 30-year-old flyer was a surprise recall for last year's do-or-die play-offs against Syria and Honduras having spent the previous four years in
Opponent Watch: Celtic starlet set to lock horns with Rogic
Tom Rogic's superb form could hit a grinding halt in Oslo if a Celtic team-mate has his way in the international friendly between the Caltex Socceroos and Norway. Elsewhere, Colombia are set to have some additional motivation for next week's match in London while a FIFA World
Brillante upbeat over Caltex Socceroos' midfield battle
Recalled midfielder Josh Brillante admits it won't be easy to achieve redemption for his late exclusion from the Caltex Socceroos' last FIFA World Cup squad. Brillante was a member of Australia's extended roster for Brazil 2014 but was unable to force his way into the final 23
Socceroos Spotlight: Luongo, Behich take staggering stats into Norway friendly
Bert van Marwijk will be blessed with the arrival of several in-form stars as his squad assembles in Oslo for the first of two friendlies. AFC Asian Cup winners Massimo Luongo and Aziz Behich are among those at the peak of their powers for the new Caltex Socceroos' coach's fir