Football

Socceroos cool despite pressure

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER 
(ASIA, GROUP B)
AUSTRALIA UAE

Under-pressure Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has downplayed the significance of today's World Cup qualifier against the United Arab Emirates, as the Socceroos battle to remain in contention for an automatic berth to next year's World Cup Finals.

Australia are third in Group B of Asian qualifying after their 1-1 draw against Iraq, three points adrift of leaders Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Only the top two are guaranteed qualification for Russia and, with four games left, Australia's hopes of a fourth straight World Cup appearance could hinge on the outcome of the meeting at Sydney Football Stadium.

"It's no bigger than last Thursday was," Postecoglou said yesterday, referring to the draw with Iraq in Teheran last week.

FATE IN OUR HANDS

"Obviously, it's a World Cup qualifier and we've kind of set up an environment where we prepare for each game the same way and this is no different.

"If we win tomorrow night, it doesn't make the Saudi Arabia game (on June 8) less important, if we don't win, it doesn't make it more important... Our fate's in our own hands."

Australia have laboured to four consecutive draws and have struggled to score, but their record scorer Tim Cahill echoed his coach's optimism.

Cahill takes heart from their victory at the 2015 Asian Cup, which followed a run of indifferent results.

He said: "Leading into the Asian Cup, everyone was worried and thought we had no chance and we ended up lifting the trophy."

The UAE are just one point behind Australia after losing to Japan last week. - WIRE SERVICES


OTHER GROUP B FIXTURES

  • Japan v Thailand
  • Saudi Arabia v Iraq
World CupAustralia