With Australia Day looming, Olyroo Brandon O’Neill says the team will draw on their “Aussie spirit” in Thursday morning's must-win clash with Jordan at the AFC U-23 Championship in Doha.
The Olyroos face a must-win scenario in their final group game of the tournament which doubles as Rio Olympic Games qualifiers.
The scenario is simple: win and go through. Lose or draw and their dream of Rio is over.
And having been hit by a UAE sucker-punch in their first-up loss, O’Neill expects the side to face similar tactics against Jordan on Thursday morning (AEDT).
“They will be similar to the UAE in they’ll set up in a way where they will let us have a lot of the ball and react off our mistakes,” the Sydney FC midfielder told FFA TV.
“If we can carry the form that we played against Vietnam into this Jordan game and really be confident, play to how Viddy [coach Aurelio Vidmar] wants us to play and show a bit of Aussie spirit I guess, I think we’ll be fine and get through this group.”
O’Neill didn’t feature in the opening game of the tournament but produced a clinical role in the heart of midfield in the 2-0 win over Vietnam.
He said the biggest difference between the two games was the side showed much more confidence against Vietnam, something they must continue in the do-or-die clash with Jordan.
“In the UAE game we looked at times like we didn’t really want to get on the ball, we didn’t want to play those passes forward, we didn’t want to close down when we should have,” the 21-year-old said.
“I guess from minute one to minute 90 [against Vietnam] we were at them from the word go, we played forward, we pressed, we tackled…we showed a bit of Aussie spirit where it was lacking in the first game.
“I couldn’t be prouder of representing my country and doing my bit and all the lads are exactly the same.
“We all dig deep and we got the three points we needed to get.”