Australia coach Holger Osieck has praised his men for their stoic 1-1 draw with Japan.
Australia coach Holger Osieck has praised his men for their stoic 1-1 draw with Japan, backing them to overcome the disappointment of conceding a late equaliser.
Osieck's Socceroos came within minutes of a rousing win over the Group B leaders in AFC World Cup qualifying on Tuesday, before Matt McKay handled in the area to hand Keisuke Honda a chance from the penalty spot.
He converted to ensure Tommy Oar's goal 10 minutes earlier would only be worth a point.
But Osieck had nothing but praise for the Socceroos' efforts in Saitama - even if he did acknowledge there would be mixed feelings among his men in the aftermath.
"We defended well, attacked well, (were) quick on counter-attacks. Still, when you're very close to win such a game and concede a late goal it is of course disappointing," he told reporters after the match.
"Yet, I told my players to keep their chin up, not to question themselves. We just earn confidence toward the two games in Australia (against Jordan on June 11 and then Iraq on Jun 18).
"There is no reason for them (to be disappointed). We got a lot of mental strength from this game ahead of the two home games."
Osieck revealed it would have been "risky" to field either Alex Brosque or Mile Jedinak due to their respective knocks, while he said it was "no secret" Mark Schwarzer was his country's No.1 goalkeeper after another strong performance from the veteran.
He also stated he would not look to the Group B table, where Australia moved to second and level on points with Jordan.
"Every point you collect it is important, especially on the road, and to win one against the best team in the group so far is a great achievement," he said.
"We don't need to look at the table. We need to win our games - that's where we should put our effort."
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