Socceroos seek to reward early birds in Australia with World Cup qualification | 2022 World Cup qualifiers


Jackson Irvine hopes Australia can reward fans who rise early to watch the World Cup qualifier against Peru and inspire the next generation of Socceroos with victory. Qatar’s one-off clash for a place in the final kicks off in Doha from 9pm on Monday, meaning Australian fans will have to be up in the early hours of Tuesday morning to see the game on screens at 4am AEST.

“It seems like an eternity, but in another era I used to get up and watch games in the morning,” Irvine said in Doha. “I hope the younger generation wakes up and some future Socceroos can tell their own story of how they saw us qualify and come and experience it themselves.”

Australia and Irvine are no strangers to the playoff road, having reached the 2018 World Cup in Russia after two-legged knockouts against Syria and Honduras. Irvine went scoreless in the first leg of those qualifiers against Honduras and was an unused substitute for the decisive 3-1 victory in the second leg in Sydney, where Australia sealed their qualification for a fourth consecutive World Cup ahead of an ecstatic crowd of 77,000 at the Olympic Stadium.

“A lot of the guys who are here today were part of it, so we have to bring that to the players who weren’t there,” said Germany-based Irvine. “Every bit of past experience can help us grow and also contribute to what we’re going to do next week.”

There will be just a few dozen traveling fans and a handful of Australian expats at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Monday, but the Socceroos are used to playing in front of rows of empty seats in Doha.

They beat the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in a World Cup Asia qualifier on Tuesday at the same stadium, and Jordan in a friendly by the same scoreline at another stadium in Doha last week. They also won both their ‘home’ World Cup qualifiers in the Qatari capital last year, while Australia’s borders were effectively closed due to Covid-19.

“Every experience is unique,” said Irvine, who scored the opening goal in the win over the Emiratis. “It’s a very different environment, but hopefully we’ll be there to achieve the same result.”

Graham Arnold’s side resumed training at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha on Thursday, but injured defender Trent Sainsbury (knee) did not attend the session. Adam Taggart (thigh) performed light duties when Australia were able to use the official World Cup ball, called the Al Rihla, for the first time.

Striker Jamie Maclaren says that despite the joy of beating the United Arab Emirates, celebrations were kept to a minimum as the job he and his teammates had come to do in Qatar was only half done .

“You could say it was a semi-final and it’s the cup final,” Maclaren told AAP. “We have great players who have progressed in the big moments and we also have players who have been very successful.

“As for the other night, the back four were superb. Maty Ryan gets up when we need him. Everyone has a role to play. Great moments, great games, and that’s what we want to play. We’ve seen it as young kids growing up, watching the Socceroos do it, and now – weird to say – but we’re in that moment now. It’s up to us…we’ve come this far and we’re looking to get back.

Maclaren was also part of Australia’s 2018 World Cup squad when Peru won the group stage 2-0 against the Socceroos in Russia and the world’s 22nd team will be favorites for the clash. The 28-year-old is confident the Socceroos won’t die wondering though.

“It’s huge, I don’t want to stress it too much because it’s just another game, but it’s a game that you absolutely have to win. Let’s be honest, ”he said. is do or die, hit or miss, all those sorts of quotes you want to say. It took 90 minutes against Peru and we know they’re a good team, but we’re a good team too. We can’t wait, we will also recover bodies and we will go there with a very strong team.


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