It’ll be easily Australia’s hardest match of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification process so far when they tackle Jordan overnight tonight.
Fullback Aziz Behich has warned Australia’s opponents in their upcoming World Cup soccer qualifiers his side is only going to get better.
The prototype Socceroos put three past Kuwait in the first half of their campaign opener on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEST) despite playing just one game since January.
Their next match on the road to Qatar in 2022 is in Canberra on October 10 against Nepal, who beat Taiwan 2-0 in their qualifier earlier on Tuesday.
For the Socceroos, it can’t come soon enough.
“It’s a great way to start our journey, new coaching staff and new group of players and it’s just exciting times and I can promise you we are only going to get better,” Behich told AAP.
“We are always happy to go home and travel home, we’re always very strong at home, I think we put in really good performance and dominated that game like we always do at home and we’ll look for the three points in the next one.”
The well-rested squad included a number of younger and recalled players with James Jeggo getting his first start, Brandon Borrello getting his international career going after a long injury layoff and Adam Taggart returning after a six-year hiatus.
In their first test the front four of Jackson Irvine, Borrello, Taggart and Leckie looked particularly dangerous with their surging runs forward.
Jeggo and Aaron Mooy, a man struggling to get game time at EPL side Brighton & Hove Albion, kept the game ticking over without much hassle after they were pressed in the opening stages.
Fullbacks Rhyan Grant and Behich were also useful bombing down the line and delivering crosses into the area.
Central defenders Trent Sainsbury, another player who struggled for game time with his club before moving to Maccabi Haifa, and Red Star Belgrade’s Champions League hero Milos Degenek kept Kuwait to just two shots on target.
Coach Graham Arnold is stoked the Socceroos’s campaign has kicked off exactly how he had planned.
“The whole thing is that we’re building depth in this journey to Qatar and there’s going to be a lot of harder games than this one but for the first game, and with a lot of these boys I hadn’t seen them since January. ”
“I hadn’t seen them for eight months and they come in, and (have) great energy and they were ready to go, it was fantastic.”
Jeggo said the entire squad was keen to get to Canberra and see their own fans for the first time since a friendly with Lebanon in Sydney on October 20.
“It’s always a pleasure to go home and play in front of the home crowd,” he said.
“I know the boys love going back to Australia and it’s the first time this new group is going to get a chance to play at home in front of a home crowd.”
Arnold called on fans to make the effort to get to Canberra next month.
“These boys haven’t played in Australia for a year and I know the Australian public misses them and we miss the Australian public,” he added.