Back where it all be­gan for an­other Cup tilt

Sunday Mail - - SPORT -

back to the en­demic na­ture of Aus­tralians to be able to tough it out in the face of ad­ver­sity.

The crowd needed to be over­come as well. An in­tense, pas­sion­ate and in­tim­i­dat­ing at­mos­phere shrill with the con­stant drone of horns and chants … we took that in our stride also. It was a very good per­for­mance away from home.

For a coun­try that boasts foot­ball in its DNA, sec­ond only to re­li­gion, the Hon­durans rely too much on the emo­tion of the game and pace on the counter. There was cer­tainly not any de­gree of so­phis­ti­ca­tion about their foot­ball.

In fact, we’ve played bet­ter teams in our qual­i­fy­ing which might partly ex­plain why we still have a game to go to dis­cover our fate.

This was the best per­for­mance from Aus­tralia in quite a while.

We dom­i­nated the mid­field largely due to the re­turn of Mile Je­d­i­nak. He gave us good bal­ance and was a very ef­fec­tive screen for the back three. He also made life sim­pler for Aaron Mooy and Mas­simo Luongo by giv­ing them good cover cen­trally al­low­ing both to get for­ward into good ar­eas.

Mooy in par­tic­u­lar worked a lot of good com­bi­na­tions with Aziz Be­hich on the left and this will be of ben­e­fit for the re­turn leg on Wed­nes­day.

It was a good per­for­mance and many would say it is a point well-earned. But many would also be­moan our lack of fin­ish­ing prow­ess that again de­nied us all three.

We cre­ated a num­ber of good scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that weren’t cap­i­talised on. Fin­ish­ing is an art, a skill al­most in iso­la­tion from the rest of the game be­cause it’s purely about the striker, the ball and his thought process which in­cludes com­po­sure and tech­nique.

On the pos­i­tive we made the chances in the first place and that’s a plus. It would be a big prob­lem if we weren’t.

So now it’s all down to one game just as it was 12 years ago be­fore the Soc­ceroos’ 32-year World Cup drought was bro­ken. At the same venue and one would hope in front of an­other full house with the kind of pas­sion and raw emo­tion only foot­ball can muster. We have to be con­fi­dent af­ter yes­ter­day’s game.

We will have re­cov­ered much bet­ter than Hon­duras cour­tesy of a char­ter flight home and this will be a telling fac­tor the longer the game goes on.

We have Mat Leckie and Mark Mil­li­gan back from sus­pen­sion - both have been key play­ers. Rob­bie Kruse is back from in­jury, and of course Tim Cahill should be avail­able for a cameo off the bench at least.

The stars are aligned in our favour. Un­like 12 years ago, we are go­ing into this game as favourites. The World Cup is beck­on­ing yet again.

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