Matthew Spiranovic says the Socceroos are buoyant following their fantastic start but are wary of an Oman backlash desperate to stay alive in the AFC Asian Cup.
The Socceroos – resounding 4-1 winners over Kuwait on Friday night – have a chance to seal progression to the quarter-finals if they can dispose of Oman in Sydney on Tuesday night.
After the Omani’s went down in their opener against Korea Republic 1-0 on Saturday, Spiranovic knows Paul Le Guen’s outfit will have to go for broke to remain in the tournament.
And the Western Sydney Wanderers FC defender knows all too well the dangers Oman possess.
He was a part of the Socceroos squad that lost to the Gulf nation in a World Cup qualifier in Muscat in 2011 – the only time Australia has ever lost to Oman.
Which is why he is taking nothing for granted heading into Tuesday’s vital Group A clash.
“From the 45 minutes I saw yesterday (against Korea), they looked like a very good team,” Spiranovic told reporters on Sunday.
“My past experience of playing against Oman, it's always been a tough contest and there's never been an easy game against Oman.
“They've always had some very good individuals especially in the attacking third, so we'll have to be aware of those players.”
Much of that responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Spiranovic and his central-defensive partner Trent Sainsbury who performed superbly – after a nervy start – against Kuwait.
While it’s still a very much inexperienced and young back four with fullbacks Aziz Behich and Ivan Franjic, Spiranovic is excited by the potential they have.
"I think the more games we play as a team, you form real combinations with whoever you're playing with and I think there was a lot of positive signs,” he said.
“It's a relatively new back four and hasn't played a lot together and I think it's a good platform to build on.
"I think every player is pushing each other for a first XI position and it's been made clear from the start the coach has said every player at some stage may be called upon and we all have to be focused and ready when that happens.”
The Socceroos cancelled their scheduled training session on Sunday with coach Ange Postecoglou given his side the day off to recharge with only four days between matches.
As a part of the Wanderers’ epic run to the Asian Champions League title last year, Spiranovic knows what it’s like to play lots of games in quick succession and is ready for the challenge.
“Fortunately I'm feeling great, I have no knocks,” he said.
“You know what the schedule has been like with the Wanderers, we've been backing up games for the last 12 months with midweek games, I'm pretty used to it now and I'm feeling pretty fresh.”
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