Wednesday, 9 November 2016 –
Caltex Socceroo striker Robbie Kruse was one of the players who paid their respects ahead of next Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier with the Thais in Bangkok. They were there to sign the official Condolence Book following the King’s passing.
“I think they will be very fired up for the game with the sad events that happened here [following the recent passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej],” he told FFA TV.
“I think they will be extremely motivated and energetic, especially in the first part of the game and we’ll be wary of that.”
Kruse, along with coach Ange Postecoglou, skipper Mile Jedinak, Mark Milligan and Trent Sainsbury, attended a ceremony at the Australian Embassy on Tuesday night.
“Personally wherever I go I try and immerse myself in the culture of the country I’m in and try and embrace the environment that the nation has,” Kruse said.
“It’s a very sad time here in Thailand, we’re fully respectful of the fact that the country is going through a tough time and hopefully this football match can give the country a time of happiness and joy being able to watch their country play.
“Hopefully both teams can put on a good spectacle for the fans and bring the countries together.”
With a good spectacle in mind, the impressive firepower in the Caltex Socceroos squad fills him with confidence for next week’s clash.
The Bayer Leverkusen winger has been one of the few who has played in every game for Ange Postecoglou’s side in 2016 and will again be a key figure in Tuesday’s clash in Bangkok.
While strikers Tomi Juric and Tim Cahill are both unavailable for the match, Kruse doesn’t believe finding avenues to goal will be a problem.
The Caltex Socceroos have scored in all nine matches they have played so far this year.
“One thing the boss and the coaching staff have done is create a lot of depth. Everyone is really confident when they come into camp and it’s been reflecting in the games,” Kruse told FFA TV.
“We’ve scored in every game [in 2016] which is a massive positive. And it’s not just the people that start the game but I think we get a lot of impact off the bench with people like Timmy as well.
“It shows the calibre of players we have in the team. Hopefully we can keep continuing that form, keep getting results but also keep performing the way the coaching staff want us too.”
Kruse added on the side’s 2016 so far: “We’ve taken big steps in the right direction, not only with result but the way we have performed as well
“We have such a young group and they are gaining a lot of experience at the moment and a lot of game time and it will be valuable in this process of qualifying for the World Cup and then the Confederations Cup [in 2017].”
Despite not figuring much for his Bundesliga club of late, Kruse says he’s arrived in camp in “top condition” and ready to fire at the Rajamangala Stadium.
Australia is currently in second spot in the group on eight points, two behind leaders Saudi Arabia and one ahead of Japan in third.
With Japan hosting the Saudis in Saitama on Tuesday night, a win for the Caltex Socceroos would go a long way to strengthening their grip on an all-important top-two spot.
But Kruse knows it won’t be easy against an improving Thailand side with plenty of motivation to perform.
“They are very technically good, they are an emerging nation in football and love their football here. We saw that when we arrived in Bangkok,” he said.