Tuesday, 11 October 2016 –
The Caltex Socceroos were sloppy in the first half in Melbourne after going behind early on, needing a second half penalty from skipper Mile Jedinak to secure a 1-1 draw.
But like they did against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah four days earlier, Australia found a way to get back in the match and pick up another valuable point on the Road to Russia.
Asked if it was a positive to eke out a result despite not being at their best, Juric said: “For sure. Imagine what we would be like if we played well.
“It’s definitely something we can learn from. We experienced going behind early in the game again and we found it difficult to get back into it.
“But we take it forward and we’ve got something to work on and improve in the next camp.”
Juric played in a front two alongside Apo Giannou but Japan’s stifling tactics and compact defensive structure made it difficult for the strike pair to get into the contest.
“Our job was to not get involved too much and keep the back four as deep as possible to give our midfielders some space,” Juric explained.
“But they were really compact and made it difficult for us to break them down.
“Conceding early put us on the back foot and we couldn’t get control but we came out in the second half and showed a bit of intent and got back into the match with a penalty.
“The way the game went it could have gone either way but we did well at the back in the second half and Maty [Ryan] pulled off a fine save to keep us level.”