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Insipid Socceroos throw away golden chance against minnows Thailand

Soccer

An insipid performance against football minnows Thailand in last night’s World Cup qualifier has left the Socceroos struggling in third spot in Group B.

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Coach Ange Postecoglou insists World Cup qualification remains in Australia’s hands despite the poor display against Thailand – who were yet to claim a point before last night’s clash.

Two penalty goals from captain Mile Jedinak were the only thing to save the Socceroos from a humiliating defeat and, now out of the automatic qualification zone, the pressure will be on to play-catch-up in next year’s vital fixtures.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan has implored the team not to fall into the trap of complacency after being left winless in a third consecutive World Cup qualifier.

Australia were held 2-2 in a scoreline that flattered Ange Postecoglou’s side.

Ryan, who had a busy night and made a couple of fine saves against the enthusiastic Thais, with a dire warning that Australia have to match the desire of other teams, who he claims are “willing to die” to make the World Cup, in Russia 2018.

However he doesn’t necessarily believe complacency has become an issue for the Socceroos, who are chasing a fourth straight finals appearance.

“That’s the third performance in a row where we haven’t probably been as convincing as we’d like to be,” Ryan said.

“First and foremost we have to compete, and at the end of the day what’s up for grabs is a position at the World Cup.

“We have to be aware that every team is willing to die in order to achieve that and we have to be better than them in that aspect.

“I think that’s the first step for us, then we have to go about implementing our system of play and how we want to play.

“It’s not good enough tonight.”

Ryan singled out cheap turnovers as the Socceroos’ worst offence, on a night nearly completely devoid of impetus in the final third.

He expects a thorough review from Postecoglou before the second half of the final qualifying phase starts in March.

But the Valencia gloveman did not go as far as to say there was reason to panic despite slipping to third in Group B behind Saudi Arabia and Japan.

“It’s the halfway point of the stage now and if we can get back to what I know as a group we can do, we can go away and win every single game of this last qualifying stage,” Ryan said.

“By doing that, we’re going to qualify.

“There’s no need for panic stations. We’re still in a strong position, we’re still undefeated.”

-AAP

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