Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou’s uncompromising approach to attacking when in front, could give Australian supporters a white knuckle ride through the Asian Cup, starting with Tuesday’s game against Oman.
A victory in Sydney will secure a quarter final passage for the Socceroos, with South Korea also in line to book a last eight spot if they win the earlier game against Kuwait in Canberra.
Australia has invariably found it tough going against Oman, despite losing just one of their seven clashes.
They haven’t won any of the last three and Postecoglou won’t order his team to shut the game down if they do hit the front.
The attack-minded committed coach loved the fact his side continued looking to score when they led Kuwait 3-1 last Friday and were rewarded with a fourth goal in stoppage time, rather than just shut down the game.
“I know it’s not going to please the purists, but I’m happy to win 7-3, 8-3, if it means we’re winning games of football and we’re attacking,” Postecoglou said.
“That won’t change, absolutely not while I’m in charge.”
One man who likes what Postecoglou is doing with the Socceroos is his Oman counterpart Paul Le Guen.
“We’ll try to build something to bother them,” Le Guen said.
“I know they have a very good team. For me they are amongst the favourites.
“They have refreshed the team. I like their way of playing.”
Tim Cahill, who will lead Australia in the absence of injured captain Mile Jedinak, has plenty of respect for Oman, who he expects to get all 11 men behind the ball in defence.
“Attacking-wise on transition, they are very good,” Cahill said.
“We’re definitely wary of the Omani team.”
Cahill will face a familiar adversary in Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, who also played against him in several English Premier League games in addition to a number of internationals.
“For me, he (Cahill) is one of the best strikers I’ve played against in the world, he always makes a problem in the box,” Al Habsi said.
“The game is more difficult for us, because (we lost) the first game and Australia won their first game.
“They are (under) less pressure than us, but I think we are confident we’re going to have a very good game like we did against South Korea.
“We were just unlucky with the result, but the performance we were happy with.”
South Korea coach Uli Stielike will be looking for more ruthlessness from his players against Kuwait, after they failed to convert more chances against Oman and they had to hold on for a 1-0 win.
Kuwait coach Nabil Maaloul says his team have to beat South Korea.
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