Qantas Socceroos captain Lucas Neill knows better than most that Green Falcons manager Frank Rijkaard will have his team well-drilled and ready to cause an upset at AAMI Park.
Qantas Socceroos captain Lucas Neill knows better than most that Green Falcons manager Frank Rijkaard will have his team well-drilled and ready to cause an upset at AAMI Park on February 29, but he also knows a little about the Saudi mentality and he believes when it comes down to it, this team may be a little fragile.
Neill along with Harry Kewell played under Rijkaard at Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig in 2010 so he knows the Saudi-s manager well, but playing in the UAE means he also knows what-s going on in the Gulf States when it comes to football.
With the UAE sharing a border with Saudi Arabia, news travels fast and Neill knows this Saudi side is under extreme pressure from their own media and people.
“Normally Frank Rijkaard is very relaxed and has a really good persona, he is a very knowledgeable guy in football,” Neill said.
“I have no doubt he has his team very well prepared and I know they got here early to have them acclimatised and well settled in.
“Having said that knowing the mentality of the Arabians, I know they will be really feeling the pressure and the expectations the country has on them to get to the next round, if they feel the pressure that will be something that will benefit Australia and we will expose.
“We want to get them thinking this might be the night that they fail, and then see they have let their country down and that they have been a disappointment in this campaign.”
While preparations for the Saudi game are the order of the day, Neill has to admit he has liked what he has seen of the A-League since he has been back home and refused to rule out ending his career here, noting that the game is growing and to play here at some stage has always been a goal.
“There is definitely a good momentum and the game is moving forward, that-s for sure. I-ve played football in many countries now and the passion is as fervent as anywhere in the world and the style is unique,” he said.
“There is a good opportunity for a footballer to put Australia in their CV and it-s something I have always kept an eye on and something that I-ve always wanted to do.”
As for the World Cup Qualifier Neill wants to see as many Socceroos fans there as possible and is excited to play for the first time at AAMI Park.
“Hopefully we will have a really good crowd at AAMI Park; I-ve trained there but have never played there before. I know we will be playing against a team who needs to win if they are going to make the World Cup and we are not going to make it easy for them.”
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