Spira to raise defensive bar

Matthew Spiranovic is relishing the challenge of coming up against a firing Dutch attack in a game the Socceroos need to take points from to keep their World Cup campaign alive.

The Socceroos were back on the training pitch today following a couple of days off to recover from an energy-sapping tournament opener.

Their defensive stocks are minus one Ivan Franjic but centre-back Spiranovic remains confident the side will rise to the occasion against the Netherlands.

“They’re a world-class opponent, they showed their quality last game,” said Spiranovic after the team’s session in Vitoria.

“Beating the reigning champions 5-1, I think that says it all.

“It’s a huge challenge that’s ahead for us but one I’m definitely looking forward to.”

The 25-year-old has arguably the toughest assignment in Brazil ahead of him – neutralising the potency of Dutch strike weapons Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie.

However having already played against the likes of Messi and Aguero in the Olympics, the Wanderers linchpin says he’ll not be overawed by the prospect.

“Playing against two fabulous players in Robben and Van Persie, I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to keep them quiet.”

“We’re definitely going out there to win the game that’s for sure.”

The Socceroos were left to lament their slow start in Curiaba, which saw them go down two early goals against Chile.

The squad have been forthright in acknowledging their performance suffered from some initial stage fright but Spiranovic was adamant there won’t be a repeat against Louis van Gaal’s side.

“I think no doubt there were early nerves last game and unfortunately at this level any small mistake you get punished for it.

“I think we showed our composure and a lot of character to get back in that game and I think you could see that the Chileans were really worried.

“I think we just have to take that positive 70 minutes and go into this game against the Dutch believing.”

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