Time to chan­nel ’05 spirit

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FOOTBALL - MARK BRESCIANO IANO

TWELVE years ago we left the Mon­te­v­ideo caul­dron con­fi­dent we had done enough to set our­selves up for World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The Socceroos of 2017 would be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same emo­tions af­ter a very good per­for­mance away to Hon­duras.

In the play­ers’ eyes, Hon­duras is beat­able in Aus­tralia, af­ter the Socceroos al­most beat them on their home patch. Vul­ner­a­ble, too, once travel is fac­tored in.

Ange Postecoglou would be proud of his men, but he would have quickly turned the team’s at­ten­tion to Wed­nes­day’s sec­ond leg.

The fo­cus is on re­cov­ery now and this is where the med­i­cal and fit­ness staff earn their money and where those small per­cent­ages are mul­ti­plied. You can’t per­form mir­a­cles in three days and in many ways the game has al­ready been played out be­cause the work is in the prepa­ra­tion.

This is where Aus­tralia has made huge strides in the past 12 years and where the Socceroos’ ex­ten­sive travel ex­pe­ri­ence will play a part.

Re­flect­ing on 2005, when we were whisked out of Mon­te­v­ideo on a Qan­tas char­ter flight and landed in Syd­ney hours ahead of the Uruguayans, it makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence phys­i­cally and men­tally.

Play­ers may be in lock­down but they are still ex­posed in the me­dia. When we saw im­ages of the Uruguayan play­ers come off their flight, they looked stressed, tired.

It gave us such a boost that men­tally we had al­ready equalised in Syd­ney well be­fore Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell set me up in the first half. On the Socceroos’ char­ter flight, which lands today well ahead of the Hon­durans, the play­ers will be ro­tated through the mas­sage ta­bles with the staff mon­i­tor­ing hy­dra­tion. They will re­flect on the game’s key mo­ments and their suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion in good spir­its, but ex­pe­ri­enced heads Mile Je­d­i­nak and Tim Cahill will en­sure they don’t get too happy with them­selves.

If some­one of­fered me a 0-0 draw in San Pe­dro Sula pregame, I would’ve signed off straight away. At the fi­nal whis­tle, I would’ve been dis­ap­pointed not to win.

You can dis­sect the missed chances, but now you just ac­cept it and look for­ward to Wed­nes­day know­ing you’re in a good po­si­tion. In the sec­ond leg, scor­ing will be key but just as vi­tal will be min­imis­ing mis­takes be­cause a score draw (1-1, 2-2 or 3-3) would see Hon­duras ad­vance.

We are the bet­ter team, we have a phys­i­cal edge and we will score. As good as the Socceroos were, they still looked vul­ner­a­ble in that tran­si­tion pe­riod when los­ing pos­ses­sion.

Be­ing on the of­fen­sive on Wed­nes­day night, that could leave us more ex­posed de­fen­sively.

The only way Hon­duras can cap­i­talise is from Socceroos mis­takes — a bad pass, a lost ball in tran­si­tion and leav­ing our­selves ex­posed.

That’s where the pres­ence of Mile Je­d­i­nak, my long-time mid­field part­ner, makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence.

He slots into good po­si­tions, or­gan­ises, leads and in­tim­i­dates the op­po­si­tion, which is an im­por­tant fac­tor.

Mark Bresciano played 84 games (scor­ing 13 goals) for the Socceroos, in­clud­ing the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He scored the equal­is­ing goal in the re­turn leg against Uruguay 12 years ago.

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