SYDNEY (9 October 2017) – Caltex Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou believes a return to home soil will give his side a lift as they look to overcome Syria in a make-or-break World Cup qualifier second leg on Tuesday night at Sydney Olympic Park.
Following a 1-1 draw in Thursday’s first leg in Malaysia, a win or a scoreless draw will be enough to propel the Socceroos into an intercontinental play-off for a spot at the 2018 World Cup.
And with Australia’s impressive recent record at Sydney Olympic Park, which included the 2015 Asian Cup triumph, Postecoglou is backing the Socceroos to create another special memory.
“When 80% of the squad play abroad, just playing at home gives the players a lift. It’s a chance to play in front of family and friends and also a home crowd,” Postecoglou said at the official pre-match press conference.
“I think whatever stadium we play in, the players really look forward to it. Obviously we’ve had some great memories here at this stadium not just the Asian Cup Final.
“That’s part of the national team experience. If you can create some more iconic moments for the sport and the country, you want to try and take them.
“Tomorrow night’s an opportunity for us to create another great moment in a fantastic stadium where we’ve got a great history.”
After Thursday’s clash in Melaca was played in energy-sapping conditions on a bumpy pitch, conditions will be much cooler at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday night.
And after examining the playing surface in Sydney on Monday, Postecoglou admitted the condition of the field will only benefit his side’s playing style.
“We had a run on it yesterday and it’s in great nick. It’s fantastic and it’s the way it should be,” Postecoglou said.
“There’s a massive prize at stake. When we play away even the other night, the pitch didn’t really suit as at all. It suits the opposition.
“What suits us is to have a good surface and to take advantage of that. We had a run on it yesterday, it’s in fantastic condition. It’s great to see.
“Of course it makes a difference. I don’t complain for no reason. A good pitch makes a difference. If anyone watches us play, they’ll realise that.” – www.footballaustralia.com.au