Tuesday, 11 October 2016 –
The Samurai Blue took an early lead in Melbourne and were then content to sit deep and try to stifle Australia’s play and hit on the counter attack.
It was a ploy that worked for long periods, before Ange Postecoglou’s improved in the second half once skipper Mile Jedinak equalised from the penalty spot.
“They’ve [Japan] seen the way we can play and maybe they were afraid of us and know we are a good team passing the ball,” Kruse told www.socceroos.com.au when asked about Japan’s game plan.
“Tonight our passing wasn’t the best and they stifled us a bit but in saying that we should have done better with it. We were sloppy.
“But second half they barely got out of their own half. There were positives but also a lot of negatives from it and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot going forward.”
While the Caltex Socceroos have now drawn their last two qualifiers, they remain unbeaten and well placed in the group on eight points ahead of next month’s trip to Thailand.
Having already seen off two tough away games in the Middle East, Kruse feels the side is in a great position over the last six games of qualifying to get to Russia.
“We’ve played the two most difficult away games in difficult conditions and Japan still have to do both of those trips,” the Bayer Leverkusen winger said.
“It’s a little disappointing as tonight at home in the best conditions we’ve played in and on a good pitch, we didn’t perform.
“We wanted to stamp our authority on the group and there was no better opponent to do that than against Japan. It’s a little bit disappointing but we’ll move forward.
“It’s obviously tight but I think we’re in a good position to qualify. Tonight wasn’t an indication of where we’re heading, hopefully we can rectify that in the next game.”