The Socceroos are still in with a fighting chance to progress past Group C after earning a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday night.
Next up is Peru, where only a win will be enough for our FIFA World Cup™ dream to continue, should France beat Denmark in the other game.
With all attention now on the Peru game – at 12am Wednesday morning AEST live on SBS and Optus Sport – the all-important recovery has begun for players.
Almost immediately after the 1-1 draw with Denmark in Samara, the Socceroos travelled back to base camp in Kazan – a short 45-minute flight.
It’s at the AK Bars Kazan accommodation where the players have access to the best recovery facilities on offer – including pools, hot spas, ice baths, steam rooms and saunas.
It’s this kind of range of facilities and recovery options on offer that is important for Australia, with head of sports science Dr Craig Duncan explaining they key considerations that go into post-game routines.
“My view of recovery is the more individual you can make it, the more you give people a choice, the better it’s going to be,” Dr Duncan explained, walking through the recovery area of the base camp.
“We give the players a choice of pool, of the spa and also we’ve obviously got ice baths. One of the issues with recovery is we don’t want people to do ice baths if they don’t think it’s going to work for them.
“We’ve always got to remember that the research is a little bit up and down with regards to recovery and I think so much of it is psychological – if the player thinks it works, it works.”
Sleep and post-game nutrition is another essential for the Socceroos, who need to replenish the energy stocks depleted during the high intensity match, where combined they would have covered more than 100 kilometres of running.
“I find saunas are fantastic because they really help with sleep and again if a player thinks it works, in my view and my experience, it’ll really help with their recovery,” added Dr Duncan.
“Giving players the choice and autonomy is what you want – they don’t want to always be told what to do and we need to be flexible, we need to look at the athlete from a holistic perspective.”
The Socceroos players will have massages the next morning to help flush the legs from left over fatigue and will also be put through an active recovery session in Kazan as they aim to be ready for the Peru game, just five days away.