'I was devastated': Tilio out to impress after turnaround of fortunes

Marco Tilio has experienced a roller coaster of emotions over the past month, first missing selection for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ before being elevated to the 26-man squad.

Originally joining the group on standby, Tilio eventually replaced Martin Boyle who requires ACL surgery to repair an injury sustained before the tournament.


“When I originally got the news that I wasn’t in the squad, I was devastated,” he said.

“I spoke to the likes of Macca (Jamie Maclaren) and (Mathew) Leckie at the club, and they said to be ready, and that's what I did. I didn't change anything that I do.”

“And now I'm here, even the week that I wasn't guaranteed to be in this team, I was just doing everything I could to make sure I'm ready to be up to my best performance, if I’m called upon that I'm ready to take the opportunity.”

The juxtaposition he faced was a difficult one.

Tilio is rightly elated to be included in the squad, but his teammate and friend Boyle, who has remained with the squad in Doha, is never far from his thoughts.

“Boyley (Martin Boyle) and I are quite close friends,” he explains.

“And I really feel for him. He's done a lot for this country and helped qualify for this World Cup.

“I think he knows that and the players are making sure he knows that and I wish him all the very best in his recovery.

“He's in good spirits and still in camp, which is good.

“It's good to have him around because he is such a good guy and a great character to have around the group.”

Following defeat to France in the Socceroos’ opening Group D match, attention now turns to a must win match against Tunisia at Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday.

Tilio has already faced challenges and as you’d expect, he and the team are not shying away from this one.

“We go in with full belief and full confidence to get the result,” said Tilio.

“We’ll just go out and play, we have enough quality in this side to make something happen in this game and we've got full belief that we'll get the three points.

“I think (Tunisia) are a great side. They wouldn't be at the World Cup if they weren't.

“But I think we focus on ourselves and that's the most important thing is we focus on ourselves and the performance we can produce.”