Matthew Spiranovic says the Socceroos’ weight of possession and supreme fitness meant he knew Tajikistan would eventually wilt in the Dushanbe heat on Tuesday night.
Spiranovic shrugged off a cold – which had him in major doubt in the lead-up to the match – to put in another commanding performance at the back for Ange Postecoglou’s side.
Expected to rack up another big score against the 158th-ranked Tajiks, it was goalless for almost an hour before goals to Mark Milligan and a Tim Cahill brace sealed victory in their FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia™ Qualifier.
Speaking after the win, Spiranovic felt the Socceroos were always confident of wearing down the hosts, a message coach Ange Postecoglou reienforced at half-time.
“He just said stay composed, keep calm and keep playing our game because we knew they were going to run out of legs,” Spiranovic said.
“They [Tajikistan] were expending a lot of energy trying to maintain that intensity and eventually it was too much for them.
“You could see in that last 30 minutes we just ran all over them.”
While the goals and performance is sure to please Postecoglou, another clean-sheet is what Spiranovic wanted.
Marshalling a new-look defence with the inexperienced Bailey Wright and Ryan McGowan – playing his first international since last year’s World Cup – the back four were again flawless.
“I’m very pleased,” Spiranovic said of the side’s defensive cohesion.
“We built from the first game and took a lot of confidence from that performance in Perth.
“Tonight you could see we controlled the game from the outset and even though we went in at half-time 0-0, we were very much in control.”