A relieved Tony Vidmar admits the pressure is now off his Joeys after they booked a spot at next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Sunday night.
In a tense quarter-final at the AFC Under-16 Championships in Thailand, the Joeys came from a goal down to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Cameron Joice and Daniel Maskin.
The result not only puts the Joeys into the last four of the tournament but also secures a place at the 2015 World Cup in Chile.
And coach Vidmar hopes the achievement will now release the shackles ahead of Wednesday’s semi-finals.
"The goal was to reach the World Cup playing good, attacking-based possession football," a proud Vidmar told the AFC website.
"We still have a lot to learn and can be naïve, but we have 12 months of preparation for the World Cup now.
"I think we have less pressure going into the semis. We can try and play our game with no pressure and expectations."
The Joeys were stunned by an early Kogileswaran Raj goal but remained composed to draw level through Joice before the break before Maskin netted the winner with 15 minutes left.
Vidmar admitted he hasn’t been happy with the level of performance from his side throughout the tournament but praised his side’s character in what was stifling heat at the Muangthong Stadium.
"We knew what to expect from Malaysia, that they would let us have possession and not press us," added Vidmar, whose side has won all four matches at the tournament so far.
"We improved in bits and pieces from the Japan game and at times kept possession well, but we also turned it over too cheaply at times and made unforced errors which gave them chances.
"We struggled with the heat in the first half. I felt it was the hottest it's been yet."
Update to Young Socceroos squad for AFC U19 Championship
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed on Friday a change to the Young Socceroos squad that is competing at the 2018 AFC U19 Championship in Indonesia. Young Socceroos coach Ante Milicic has brought in Melbourne City FC’s Connor Metcalfe to replace Western Sydney Wa
When are your Caltex Socceroos in action this weekend?
Awer Mabil will be among the Aussies taking Caltex Socceroos form back to the club grind as Aaron Mooy braces for a huge Premier League test this weekend. Meanwhile, there's a match not to be missed in Scotland that's set to showcase several of our overseas stars. Read on t
Milicic calls for fast start to AFC U-19 Championship campaign
Ante Milicic has urged his Young Socceroos side not to waste a second at the AFC U-19 Championship as they prepare to meet Korea Republic on Friday night. A tournament-opening victory for either nation in Indonesia could prove crucial to progressing from a tricky Group C that