We will ig­nore Syria’s cun­ning

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - CARLY ADNO

MI­LOS De­genek says the Socceroos will con­cen­trate on play­ing foot­ball rather than get in­volved in Syria’s trick­ery in Tues­day night’s must-win clash at ANZ Sta­dium.

The Socceroos char­tered a plane back to Syd­ney im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing Thurs­day night’s 1-1 draw in Malaysia and ar­rived home with plenty of time for re­cov­ery.

Af­ter be­ing un­done by a du­bi­ous penalty call in Me­laka, De­genek says the play­ers know ex­actly what to ex­pect from their op­po­nents.

“They’re phys­i­cal and, as you saw at the start of the game, they tried to play lit­tle games by go­ing down and were try­ing to time-waste straight away, be­fore the game even started,” he said.

“It’s nor­mal, it hap­pens. It’s how they’re trained and what they like to do, but it’s not what we do – we like to play foot­ball and get the game mov­ing as fast as pos­si­ble.

“It’s a fight, that’s how they play. They bat­tle and that’s what you can learn, just be ag­gres­sive.”

The Socceroos are still reel­ing from the con­tentious penalty, with the ref­eree pe­nal­is­ing Mathew Leckie for a le­gal chal­lenge, which al­lowed Syria to grab a draw with five min­utes re­main­ing.

It’s some­thing De­genek says they will have to put be­hind them.

“In foot­ball you al­ways get tough de­ci­sions,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously that one is to­tally dif­fer­ent – it’s out of the blue. It’s un­for­tu­nate but it hap­pens, it’s just dis­ap­point­ing it hap­pened to us.”

The Socceroos landed in Syd­ney five hours be­fore Syria, trav­el­ling in com­fort on a char­tered plane which of­fi­cials hope will give the team a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage on Tues­day night.

They also have their for­mi­da­ble home record be­hind them – the Socceroos haven’t lost a World Cup qual­i­fy­ing match in Aus­tralia since 1981.

If they can get past Syria, the Socceroos are in line for a likely qual­i­fy­ing play-off date with Panama or Hon­duras.

The United States’ 4-0 pound­ing of Panama yes­ter­day has smoothed the way for Ange Postecoglou’s men, who will now likely avoid a chal­leng­ing tie with the Amer­i­cans for a spot at Rus­sia 2018.

If suc­cess­ful against the Syr­i­ans, the Socceroos will meet the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF.

The US win lifted them into third place with 12 points and leaves Panama (10 points) in fourth with one game to play.

The fi­nal stand­ings in that group will be con­firmed on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

MAIN MAN: Mark Mil­li­gan has taken over the Socceroos cap­taincy in the ab­sence of Mile Je­d­i­nak; (in­set) lift­ing the A-League tro­phy for Mel­bourne Vic­tory in 2015; and play­ing for Aus­tralia.

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