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Jedinak unfazed by Kyrgyzstan challenge

Soccer

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His surname was spelt wrong. Then he was called Mike.

But Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak remains unflappable, no matter how he’s referred to in Kyrgyzstan.

Jedinak was flanked by coach Ange Postecoglou at a pre-game press conference ahead of Tuesday night’s (Wednesday 0000 AEST kick-off) World Cup qualifier against the Kyrgyzs in Bishkek.

In front of the Australian skipper was his name plate: Mile Edinak.

Then a Kyrgyz journalist began: “I have a question for Mike. I mean Mile,” he said, pronouncing the first name as in `running a mile’.

“It’s Mil-ay. Mil-ay,” Postecoglou interrupted, stressing the correct pronunciation.

Jedinak, who was also addressed as `Mike’ by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a farewell video before last year’s World Cup, barely batted an eyelid.

Instead he seemed more intent on downplaying Australia’s raging favouritism against the 177th-ranked Kyrgyzs.

“We expect (Kyrgyzstan) being at home, it’s going to be a difficult game – and we respect that fact,” he told reporters.

“We have prepared ourselves this week for the challenge that lies ahead.”

Jedinak was undeterred by Australia having scant intelligence on their opponents, or the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium pitch being as bumpy as the uneven, pot-holed roads in Bishkek.

But he stopped short of declaring the Socceroos had a new-found ruthless streak that they wanted to display against their hosts.

“We have challenged ourselves as a group in order to take us to the next level,” he said.

“Whether that means ruthless streak, that is open for interpretation.

“But we definitely over the last 18 months have been put up against some very difficult challenges.

“So I think overall we have grown but we’re still growing.

“And the next challenge has been put to us and it’s going to be up to us whether or not we can proceed and get on top of that.”

– AAP

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