Meulensteen outlines how Socceroos can overcome group stage challenge

Patience will be among Australia’s greatest virtues as the Socceroos contend with the ‘completely different challenge’ of their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ group stage opposition, according to Rene Meulensteen.

Graham Arnold’s side were beaten 1-0 by Jordan in Sunday night’s Group B opener despite mustering a commanding grip on possession and chances.

Jordan’s approach is one that Australia’s other Group B opponents Palestine and Syria may adopt against Graham Arnold’s side.

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However, Assistant Coach Meulensteen urged the Socceroos to remain patient, and said Australia will be working tirelessly on breaking down packed defences in preparation for Friday night’s contest with Palestine.

“We’re going to have a lot of the ball and the most important thing is to use that well, to be patient, to keep the quality, to keep the speed of play and then eventually open them up and then be clinical when the chances present themselves,” said the 54-year-old.


“If you look at the three months that we’ve been working and friendly games we’ve played, we set out in a very clear way of how we want to play and the players have responded tremendously well.

“We pressed, we created chances we scored a lot of goals, [but] this is a completely different challenge.

“This is a team that completely sets themselves up with everybody behind the ball so it’s about constant movement, dragging players in [and] out and we’re going to spend quite a bit of time on the training pitch.”

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Despite not getting the result Australia wanted against Jordan, Meulensteen says morale and confidence among Socceroos players and staff is high ahead of Friday night’s kick off (10.00pm AEDT).

“You can’t dwell on these things,” he continued.

“That’s football, that’s sport. We’ve got a clear vision of what we want and that’s not going to change.

“We’ve had a fantastic positive environment and that positive environment will see us through to the next couple of games."