Focus turns to second leg in Sydney for the Caltex Socceroos
After a 1-1 first leg draw on Thursday night in Malaysia, focus now switches to Sydney next Tuesday night against Syria in their play-off World Cup qualifier.
The Caltex Socceroos will look to secure the result they need to keep alive their hopes of playing at next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Ange Postecoglou’s men are returning home on a specially chartered flight to ensure they can maximise their recovery for the second leg.
It was a similar tactic employed famously by coach Guus Hiddink almost 12 years ago, bringing his squad back from Montevideo for the crucial second leg.
Many still believe the charter flight was a major factor in Australia’s dramatic penalty-shootout win over Uruguay in the second leg which broke a 32-year drought of appearing at a FIFA World Cup.
And like that memorable night at Homebush in 2005, the Caltex Socceroos will be banking on huge home support to help them get the job done.
There’s no doubting the importance of the home fans on Tuesday night, especially if things get tight late on.
A boisterous atmosphere getting behind the Caltex Socceroos could just make the difference.
It’s part of the reason Australia has such a formidable record on home soil when it comes to FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Since 1981, the Caltex Socceroos have lost just once in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Australia.
Ange’s men were also impressive at home in the most recent qualifying phase, winning four out of five matches [and a draw with Japan].
Let’s see if that imposing run of results continues in Sydney next week to keep the Caltex Socceroos on the Road to Russia 2018.