Ryan pleased with ‘tournament mode’ Socceroos marching onto Asian Cup Quarter Finals
Socceroos captain Mathew Ryan says the team are keeping results paramount after Sunday’s Indonesia victory.
Ryan made it three clean sheets in four games as Australia dispatched Indonesia 4-0 in the Round of 16 of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.
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The Socceroos's opponents gave them a tough test as they battled for control of the match, however, a strong finish to both halves got the Aussies over the line.
The skipper noted the value of keeping it solid at the back in tournament football.
“We’re in tournament mode, and the most important thing is winning and defensively. Keeping a clean sheet goes a long way to doing that,” Ryan said.
“Worst case scenario, finishing the game and you’re 0-0 with a clean sheet. But with the talent and quality we’ve got, we always back ourselves to create chances and put opportunities away.”
Ryan was at the quarter-final stage with Australia in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 United Arab Emirates, where the team bowed out the tournament hosts 1-0.
Drawing on that experience, he said that it needs to be recognised that football is not as easy as it looks and that winning remains the most important thing.
“There can be a lot of outside noise about ‘the team should be doing this or doing that’, but football isn’t easy as everyone perhaps claims that it is from the outside,” Ryan said.
“When you're out here, and you're a professional footballer, and you're taking on another team that's obviously trying to do everything that they can to win a game, it's not easy.
“We faced challenges tonight with, all due respect to obviously, Indonesia; they gave it a good crack, and they gave us problems. But we found a way in order to get the job done. And that's a skill set within itself. I feel that we've still got a lot of improvement in us, and I think that's a good sign moving forward.”
Ryan said he was happy to see Martin Boyle notch his second goal of the tournament on Sunday night, and said there is unity within the group.
“Boiley’s someone who embodies all that it is to be part of this group and much more. He doesn't always get the reward in terms of goals and assists,” Ryan said.
“I was chuffed for him that he got himself on the scoresheet and, most importantly, put in another shift for the team to help us get the result.
“We're a tight bunch, a tight-knit group of boys, and we all treat each other like brothers, and it's like a family in here.”
Australia will take on either South Korea or Saudi Arabia for a place in the semi-finals of the Cup on Saturday.
AFC ASIAN CUP QATAR 2023™ QUARTER FINAL
Australia v Saudi Arabia/South Korea
Saturday, February 3rd 2024
Al-Janoub Stadium, Al-Wakrah
Kick-off: 6:30pm local (2:30am AEDT)
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+
Every AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 match will be live on Paramount+