Chris Ikonomidis cannot wait for a large crowd to fill the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in late January when the Socceroos host Vietnam in one of the final qualification matches.
It will be the first time in more than four years that the Socceroos have played a match in Melbourne.
The Socceroos’ most recent match in Melbourne was a 2-1 win over Thailand at the same venue in 2017, in front of 26,393 fans.
Ikonomidis, who plies his trade for Melbourne Victory, knows just how much of a difference a passionate crowd at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium can make.
“We know playing on home soil for the Socceroos is a massive advantage and all the boys love it,” Ikonomidis explained.
This pitch in particular for me is special. I have lots of good memories here and to have the chance to play here would be awesome.”
Ikonomidis said the fixture would be particularly special for the likes of Aziz Behich, Jackson Irvine and Ajdin Hrustic, who all hail from Melbourne.
“They will be buzzing because I think for a lot of them that haven't been home to Victoria for three years at least," he said.
“So to be back, there will just be a general buzz for the boys to be home and to be playing in front of their family, friends and fellow Victorians.”
Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold shared the same sentiments as Ikonomidis and encouraged fans to get behind the squad as qualification draws to a close.
With six games played, the Socceroos have four huge encounters left as they endeavour to secure automatic qualification for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
It all begins on January 27 when the Socceroos host Vietnam, before a trip away to Oman a few days later on February 1.
“Every match in FIFA World Cup qualifying is crucial and we need all three points against Vietnam,” Arnold said.
“Melbourne is home to one of the best fan cultures in Australia, so it would be great if fans can get the stadium shaking on January 27 and provide the players with energy and support.
Bring the noise, bring the volume because it’s a very important window for us.”
With pre-sale underway, tickets go on sale to the general public for January 27's meeting with Vietnam on Thursday, December 16 at 12pm AEDT.