Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak has explained what he said to teammates in a huddle following the narrow 2-1 loss to France at the FIFA World Cup™.
Jedinak, who scored Australia’s goal from the penalty spot, was picked in midfield alongside Aaron Mooy and the duo produced a stellar defensive display in conjunction with centre back pairing Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan.
But despite limiting France’s chances and frustrating one of the favourites for the title in Russia, Australia fell late thanks to an 81st minute Aziz Behich own goal.
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“On the performance, we set out to impose ourselves on the game and I thought we did that,” explained Jedinak the day after the game.
“We created a few opportunities, maybe not too many, but we restricted them to few opportunities. You just felt they were running out of ideas but you always knew they had threats all over the pitch.
“It was about keeping that concentration and discipline – when you’re playing at this level, against an opponent like we did, our shape and our structure will be what wins us games. Breaking from that structure in transition and countering them will be what gets us our opportunities.
“Ultimately it wasn’t meant to be for us, but we have to put it behind us and we’ll analyse accordingly for the Denmark game.”
Jedinak, who had some off a gruelling club season with Aston Villa where he so nearly helped them win promotion to the English Premier League, reiterated the message he shared with teammates during a post-game huddle on the pitch.
After the full time whistle had blown, before Bert van Marwijk and his staff could speak to the players, Jedinak called his teammates in and was captured delivering an intense speech.
“It’s just something I thought we needed, everyone needed to hear it while it was so fresh in the mind and seeing the disappointment in everybody, knowing what effort we’d given,” Jedinak explained.
“It was just: ‘be disappointed, that goes without saying. Let it hurt, but know we did a lot of good things and right up until we need to leave this competition, we will show some really good things.’
“We weren’t that far off and we need to keep stressing that with the group. Everybody understood that.”
Jedinak also reserved special praise for the travelling Aussie fans, who were even singled out by France star Paul Pogba for making the Kazan Arena feel like an Australian home game.
“It was a home game,” declared the 33-year-old skipper.
“Once you heard that anthem you knew. That was probably what gave us that extra bit of energy, made us grow and you felt it straight away and we wanted to stress that to the boys.
“When you’re playing on the biggest stage so far away from home, to see so many fans there was truly remarkable.”