Source: Ange Postecoglou via Facebook
The final 25-man squad that will hold the fate of Australia’s World Cup dreams has been named by Ange Postecoglou at a feisty press conference in Sydney. The media were eager for the coach to answer questions about his future, but he refused to talk about himself, pushing for the focus to be on the team.
Mile Jedinak was one of three inclusions for November’s World Cup playoff, and the returning skipper will be a welcome addition to an Australian midfield that struggled at times throughout their qualifying campaign. His recent 30 minutes on the pitch for English club Aston Villa against Birmingham City was enough to book himself a ticket to Central America, the last away match on the road to Russia.
Ange was continually asked whether or not Jedinak would continue to captain the team if they do make it past Honduras, but the coach kept switching the topic back to the players and the gigantic task at hand.
The Villa midfielder is joined by Jimmy Jeggo, who plays in the Austrian Bundesliga for Sturm Graz, and Alex Gersbach, who plies his trade in Norway for Rosenborg BK. The original 23-man squad has been extended due to the absence of Matthew Leckie and Mark Milligan, who are both suspended for the first leg, but will re-join the team in Sydney for the home tie.
Source: Mile Jedinak via Facebook.
The coach has the choice to cut his 25-man squad by two members after the away game, or bring all of the players to Sydney and make a last-minute decision based on availability. Australia will only be permitted to name a bench of 12 players for the second leg.
Honduras will go into the first match as favourites, but it’s obvious Australia poses a massive threat to the North American side with bookies rating them a solid chance for an upset. According to Champion Bets, the odds for Australia have shortened quite considerably already, and many bettors are looking to free bet offers which you can see online at one of the many tipping websites to maximise the value of their stakes.
There has also been quite a lot of talk about the hostile environment expected to be awaiting the squad on their arrival. Postecoglou addressed the issue with the media, stating that he wasn’t too concerned about the potentially intimidating welcome they would receive. He feels that playing away in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Japan during qualification has made the side confident in dealing with these types of situations. There’s no doubt the away leg is going to be difficult for the Aussies, though, and Honduras supporters will try and make the away team feel as uncomfortable as possible.
Honduras know how vital it is to seal a victory on home soil, and won’t want to leave their chances to the second game. If the Socceroos can snatch a victory or even an away goal, they will surely rate their chances of progressing when they face them in front of a packed house in Sydney.