The Socceroos head into tomorrow night’s do-or-die affair with a fearsome home record among the best in the world.
Australia has lost just one of their past 59 home World Cup qualifiers.
And even in that loss – a 1-0 defeat by China at ANZ Stadium, the site of Wednesday’s match – there were extenuating circumstances.
In that match, Pim Verbeek’s side had already ensured progression to the next phase of their journey to the 2010 tournament.
The Dutchman fielded an second-string side, which played with a perhaps understandable lack of intensity.
If that dead rubber is taken out of the equation, the Socceroos’ last qualifying defeat on home soil came back in 1981.
That was against New Zealand, when a 2-0 loss to New Zealand in Sydney led to journeyman coach Rudi Gutendorf’s resignation.
Australia’s record puts the mystique around Honduras’ home ground in San Pedro Sula – where the two teams drew 0-0 on Saturday (Australian time) – in the shade.
The Socceroos even compare favourably with the best in the world, led by powerhouse Germany.
Die Mannschaft have just two losses in their last 94 matches, more impressively in home and away qualifiers.
Midfielder Mark Milligan said their home record instilled confidence in the group – but it wouldn’t be enough to get them to Russia.
“We are not going to rest or rely on that. One of the reasons it is so good is because we go into every match looking to win,” he said.
“It is up to us to keep that record because it is not going to just happen for us.”
Milligan was buoyed by news of a near-sellout crowd, with around 70,000 tickets already snapped up for tomorrow night.
“A big crowd makes a hell of a difference for us,” he said.
“We heard so much talk about Honduras and the support that they get (and) how it would make it difficult for us. It is no different here.
“We need our home support to come out in great numbers because at the moment everything is on the line, no one has the advantage and that could just be what kicks us over the line.”
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