Socceroos must hold nerve in World Cup qualifier in Honduras

World at his feet: Socceroos (from left) Ryan McGowan, Aaron Mooy and Bailey Wright at training in Honduras.
World at his feet: Socceroos (from left) Ryan McGowan, Aaron Mooy and Bailey Wright at training in Honduras.

The first half-an-hour will be vital to set the tone.

The Socceroos have to show Honduras they’re up for the challenge when the World Cup playoff kicks off.

It’s going to be a nervy ride in hostile territory.

If you sit to deep, you invite Honduras to dictate the contest and create scoring chances.

If you take the game on, you invite Honduras to use the space to create opportunities.

So the key is the Australian attitude from the kick-off. 

They must be prepared to fight for every ball and put their bodies on the line every single time it’s required.

Like most two-legged knockout fixtures internationally, we know how tight the game can be. 

A moment, a decision, a tackle, or a substitution can change the entire context.

However, Australia can have an edge in terms of fitness.

Against Syria, Australia gained the upper-hand at the game wore on into extra-time, it was a crucial advantage.

So if the Socceroos can nullify Honduras early, limit their attacking play and take the sting out of the atmosphere, it can help them build into game.

From there, we can create opportunities for ourselves, especially on the counter-attack. Conceding first, especially early, could prove disastrous, but a draw would hand the Socceroos just the boost they need to return to Sydney for the second leg on Wednesday. 

Football in Australia needs and a deserves to have a team playing at the World Cup and after such a long campaign it’s time to earn it.

Time for change

Josep Gombau has brought a new energy and new style to the Wanderers.

Since his arrival, we’ve all had one-on-one meetings with him to discuss his philosophy and the strengths of the club, as well as what we can improve on. As an attacker, it’s exciting to work with him. He brings a high-pressing and attacking plan which should mean Western Sydney will be creating more opportunities to score and win games. 

It will be an attractive style to watch, which will be exciting for fans and for us as players.

It was frustrating to walk away with a draw against the Victory. To have a man advantage for most of the game, you want to walk away with the three points.

But credit to the Melbourne Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas, who made a great save diving at full stretch, to deny Oriol Riera a penalty which would have put as ahead two-nil.

Instead, we conceded after half-time and forced to settle for a point, our fourth draw in five games. 

It’s the old story, we’re happy to be unbeaten after five games, especially given the circumstances around our managerial situation to start the campaign.

But it’s also important to convert chances into goals and into victories and it will be another big occasion against Melbourne Cup. 

Despite their setback against Sydney FC and even though they’ll be without Tim Cahill, Melbourne City have been on fire to start the season.

It’s another great contest against a team expected to contend for the title.