What better place than here, what better time than now for the Qantas Socceroos to reinforce their FIFA World Cup qualification ambitions
What better place than here, what better time than now for the Qantas Socceroos to reinforce their FIFA World Cup qualification ambitions.
That's the message from the Qantas Socceroos camp and from match winner Archie Thompson ahead of Tuesday's blockbuster clash against Japan at Saitama Stadium.
While the hosts are flying high and on the cusp of sealing their place in Brazil, Australia have struggled for consistency of late but are relishing the challenge of toppling Asia's best side on their home turf.
"It's a huge game for us," said Thompson, who has rediscovered his goal scoring touch in green and gold with seven goals throughout last year.
"We're a team that's probably lacking a little bit of confidence.
"We had a good opportunity last match in Australia to obviously push a little bit closer to that FIFA World Cup spot, unfortunately we didn't turn up that day.
"We've got the opportunity to take Japan on, in Japan and at the moment they're one of, if not the best, football country in Asia.
"To get a result or to knock them off in Japan would just build so much confidence in this team."
The grand nature of Tuesday's clash is starting to become apparent to the Qantas Socceroos squad in Saitama.
Despite the Samurai Blue presently being based in Nagoya to prepare for their friendly clash with Bulgaria, a contingent of nearly thirty local media was on hand to meet with Qantas Socceroo squad members at today's media session.
Tuesday's clash has generated plenty of interest amongst local pundits, with Japan needing just one point from either of their last two Group B qualification matches to become the first qualified nation through to next year's showpiece.
"It's their (Japan's) number one national team," said Qantas Socceroo defender Jade North, who experienced two seasons in Japan's J.League competitions between 2011 and 2012.
"(There are) people just waiting outside the hotel wanting autographs, the media here today, it's quite phenomenal really.
"It's going to be a full stadium, full house, and these are the games that we love playing for, that's what you play football for and these are the moments.
"For the FIFA World Cup, what better way than to come here and spoil the party."
The Qantas Socceroos' FIFA World Cup qualification campaign continues on Tuesday, 4 June at Saitama Stadium, where they will meet the challenge of Japan. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time (8.30pm AEST).
The Qantas Socceroos will conclude the current stage of Asian qualifiers upon their return home, firstly to face Jordan at Melbourne's Docklands Stadium on Tuesday, 11 June. Kick off is at 7pm AEST.
Finally, the Qantas Socceroos will host Iraq at Sydney's Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 18 June. Kick off is at 7.30pm AEST.
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