Need for speed the answer to topple Thailand

Mathew Leckie looms as a key player for the Caltex Socceroos against Thailand in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

Mathew Leckie looms as a key player for the Caltex Socceroos against Thailand in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

Caltex Socceroos winger says speed will be the key to unlocking Thailand’s defence in Tuesday night’s must-win FIFA World Cup qualifier in Melbourne.

SOCCEROOS’ NEED FOR SPEED

Like they did in the loss to Japan last week, the Caltex Socceroos are likely to dominate possession and field position against Thailand.

The visitors are likely to put plenty of men behind the ball, and Leckie says the speed of ball movement will be vital if Australia hopes to rack up a big score.

“The ultimate topic we spoke about was that the ball movement was too slow,” Leckie told reporters on Sunday.

“With Japan playing very defensive, we let them get back into their formation and sorted in their own half very easily.

“We were just disappointed…there was evidence we could’ve caused Japan lots of problems. If we moved the ball quicker and went forward faster we could have definitely found gaps.”

Brad Smith goes down under a mis-timed tackle from a Japanese defender.

LECKIE KEEN TO MAKE IMPACT

Playing in a wing-back role in Ange Postecoglou’s 3-2-4-1 formation, Leckie has been mixing defensive duties with trying to get forward and help out in the front third.

He hopes to play a more positive role in attack against the Thais.

“I think we’ll have more possession and hopefully that gives the opportunity to the wing-backs to get forward,” Leckie said.

“If we can get on top of Thailand push them back into their own half, it’ll definitely give us the opportunity to get high.

“We need goals and towards the end of the game we might have to take some risks as well.”

Caltex Socceroos v Thailand banner

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Eugene Galekovic called into Caltex Socceroos squad

Eugene Galekovic has been called in to the Caltex Socceroos squad in place of the injured Adam Federici.

Eugene Galekovic has been called in to the Caltex Socceroos squad in place of the injured Adam Federici.

Eugene Galekovic has been called in to the Caltex Socceroos squad for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier against Thailand.

The Melbourne City gloveman replaces Adam Federici who has withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

Galekovic will join the Caltex Socceroos in camp on Monday morning in Melbourne ahead of Tuesday’s vital FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Caltex Socceroos v Thailand banner

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Mark Milligan ready for ‘biggest game in 10 years’

Mark Milligan is confident the Caltex Socceroos will get the job done against Thailand on Tuesday night.

Mark Milligan is confident the Caltex Socceroos will get the job done against Thailand on Tuesday night.

Mark Milligan believes a vocal home crowd could be decisive as the Caltex Socceroos go all-out in what the defender describes as the most important qualifier in a decade.

HOME SUPPORT IS PIVOTAL

With Saudi Arabia currently enjoying a two-goal advantage on goal difference to Australia, a big win is paramount to boost the Caltex Socceroos’ hopes of automatic qualification to Russia 2018.

And a boisterous home crowd is vital, according to Milligan.

“There’s no more important game that I can recall over the last 10 years since we’ve been in Asia for qualification,” the stand-in skipper said.

“It’s important that they get out and know [Thailand is] not going to roll over.

“It’s going to be no easy feat for us on Tuesday but we’ll come ready and we’ll get the result needed.”

Group B table

‘WE’LL BE IN RUSSIA’

A win over Thailand will put the pressure on Saudi Arabia to get a similar result in their final match against Japan in the early hours of Wednesday morning (AEST).

But regardless of what unfolds over the next few days, Milligan has no doubt the Caltex Socceroos will qualify for a fourth straight FIFA World Cup.

“Going to consecutive World Cups has been very important not just for the national team but for Australian football, the A-League and lower leagues,” Milligan said.

“I still truly believe that we will go out Tuesday night and we’ll put in a good performance.

“Whether it’s Wednesday that it’s announced that we’re going to a World Cup or whether we have to wait a bit longer, it will happen.

“Obviously that’s worst case scenario but there’s a long way before we have to hit that panic button.”

Caltex Socceroos v Thailand banner

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Brad Smith keen for redemption against Thailand

Caltex Socceroos wingback Brad Smith is looking for a big performance against Thailand.

Caltex Socceroos wingback Brad Smith has conceded his display against Japan wasn’t up to the standard he expects of himself – and the English Premier League player is looking to Thailand on Tuesday as a chance to reassert his qualities.

 

Group B tableThe Australians must win next Tuesday night – and ideally by an avalanche of goals – to put the pressure back on Saudi Arabia who face Japan in Jeddah a few hours after the clash in Melbourne.

HONEST ASSESSMENT

With the Japan loss still fresh in mind, the left wingback didn’t pick up a runner and that contributed to Japan’s first goal in their 2-0 win on Thursday night.

“I didn’t think I was up to scratch on the day,” he told reporters when quizzed on his display shortly after landing in Melbourne.

“But it’s a team game and we’ll review the game and see where we did go wrong, and build on that and hopefully produce the performance we need.”

GOALS WILL FLOW

“I’m very confident. All the boys are confident. We’ve got to be positive and we can definitely get the job done,” he said of the crunch clash with Thailand.

“That’s the formation we believe will take us far,” he said of the 3-4-3 in which he plays as a left wingback.

James Troisi looks to wriggle clear of his marker in Australia's 2-0 loss to Japan.

Smith added fellow EPL player and star playmaker Aaron Mooy was feeling much better and was in high spirits after he was taken ill on game day in Japan.

Mooy’s return will surely be one of the sparks needed for Australia to fire up in front of goal.

REGULAR FOOTBALL NEEDED

Smith has been a peripheral figure at his EPL club Bournemouth. And he hinted at a potential loan move in the next window in January away from Eddie Howe’s Cherries. Something that is vitally important in a World Cup year.

“Obviously it’s difficult not playing but I have to stay and fight for my place.

“This year is a big year for me to get as much game time as I can. If not we’ll discuss it in January and see what happens there.”

Caltex Socceroos v Thailand banner

Source  :  Football Federation Australia